MEL GIBSON is to direct his first movie in eight years, the second-world-war drama Hacksaw Ridge, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The Amazing Spider-Man’s Andrew Garfield looks set to star in a film based on the true story of a conscientious objector who was ostracised for his refusal to carry a weapon, but won a US congressional medal of honour for his heroic actions on the battlefield.
Hacksaw Ridge, which Gibson hopes to shoot next year, is based on the life story of Desmond T Doss, a private in the US army who was drafted in 1942 and worked as a medic in the Pacific theatre. He was credited with saving the lives of 75 men during the battle of Okinawa after braving enemy fire while evacuating wounded soldiers near the front line. The Seventh-day Adventist was the first conscientious objector to receive the medal of honour, and was also handed two bronze stars and three purple hearts for his heroics. Doss was wounded by a grenade and shot by a sniper while working on the battlefield.
The project looks a perfect fit for the religiously minded Gibson. The Oscar-winning director’s 2004 film The Passion of the Christ was an enormous box office hit, taking more than $600m worldwide after attracting huge numbers of Christian filmgoers in the US. However, the film also drew accusations of antisemitism, charges that have dogged Gibson ever since.
The one-time Lethal Weapon star’s most recent film as a director was 2006’s Apocalypto. Since then, he has struggled to be taken seriously in Hollywood following an arrest the same year for drink driving which led to an antisemitic outburst towards the arresting officer. Two years ago the Hollywood screenwriter Joe Eszterhas accused Gibson of sabotaging a planned film about a famous second-century-BC Jewish revolt for antisemitic reasons, and there have been a number of other alleged incidents.
However, Gibson has since received support from high-profile friends Jodie Foster and Robert Downey Jr, respectively a two-time Oscar winner and the highest-paid actor in the world. He recently appeared as the villain in The Expendables 3, the latest instalment in Sylvester Stallone’s 80s-throwback action saga. The Guardian