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Mel Gibson Plans to Direct Desmond Doss Film


The Hollywood Reporter has announced that Actor/Director Mel Gibson has begun talks with The Amazing Spider-Man’s Andrew Garfield about a World War II film on Seventh-day Adventist conscientious objector-turned-war-hero, Desmond T. Doss.

The film breaks Gibson’s long absence from Hollywood. Garfield appears set to star as Desmond Doss.

Doss, a private in the United States army, drafted in 1942, worked as a medic in the Pacific Theater and was credited with saving the lives of 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa. Early in his military service, Doss was maligned for his refusal to carry a weapon. In the Battle of Okinawa, Doss worked amid heavy enemy fire to evacute soldiers near the front line. He was wounded by a grenade and hit by a sniper’s bullet while working to save wounded soldiers.

Doss received the Medal of Honor from Presdient Harry Truman in 1945, and was subsequently awarded two bronze stars and three purple hearts for his service. 

The Doss story will be entitled “Hacksaw Ridge,” and according to various outlets, the screenplay has been completed already. According to the Hollywood Reporter, the film has been in the works for a long time. 

The movie has been more than 13 years in the making and was originally set up at Disney. Ironically, it had Gibson’s “We Were Soldiers” helmer Randall Wallace directing back then. 

The film seems a close fit for Gibson’s tastes. As an actor, he often starred in violent war epics like “Braveheart” (1995), “The Patriot” (2000), and “We Were Soldiers” (2002). Gibson has also shown an affinity for religious content. His 2004 drama, “The Passion of the Christ,” earned Gibson both accolades and denunciations from critics and moviegoers alike for its graphically violent depiction of Jesus’ trial, crucifixion and death. Some critics saw the film as anti-semitic, an accusation against Gibson later fueled by a drunk driving-related rant.

Gibson hopes to begin filming in 2015 and to release the film in 2016. It would mark one decade since his last project. Gibson’s most recent film was the 2006 adventure epic, “Apocalypto,” released the year of Desmond Doss’s passing. In 2006 Gibson received a DUI citation for speeding with an open alcohol container in his vehicle. In a tirade against the officer who cited him, Gibson made derogatory comments about Jews, and Gibson has been dogged by accusations of anti-semitism ever since. He has struggled to be taken seriously within Hollywood after that incident.

Andrew Garfield is best perhaps known for his role as the titular character in The Amazing Spider-Man, though his breakthrough as an actor came in 2010 when he played Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin in “The Social Network.”
Jared Wright is Spectrum’s managing editor.
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