Mel Gibson Takes Another Shot At Superhero Genre

Posted: 11/09/2016 in Uncategorized

Mel Gibson on ‘Hacksaw Ridge’: ‘Real superheroes don’t wear spandex tights’

While I respect Gibson’s body of work and talent, this isn’t the first time he takes a shot at the genre. “Hacksaw Ridge” opened to far lower numbers than predicted. While I have no doubt it is a strong effort and will unquestionably see it, maybe hold off on bucking the long continuing trend, Mr. Gibson. He is foregoing the point that such films as current # 1 Dr. Strange are actually good. Same goes for you Mr. Garfield. You had your shot. It didn’t take…stop bringing it up as a negative.  REC

Director Mel Gibson takes part in SiriusXM's 'Hacksaw Ridge' Town Hall on November 2, 2016 in New...

Director Mel Gibson takes part in SiriusXM’s ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Town Hall on November 2, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

MARK DANIELL, POSTMEDIA NETWORK

Nov 3, 2016

, Last Updated: 11:50 AM ET

LOS ANGELES – War-movie vet Mel Gibson might have cast former superhero Andrew Garfield in his latest movie, but that doesn’t mean he thinks much of the genre.

“Real superheroes don’t wear spandex tights,” the 60-year-old Oscar-winner dryly tells reporters during a press day for Hacksaw Ridge.

The film – Gibson’s first as a director since 2006’s Apocalypto – recounts the story of Desmond Doss Sr. (played by Garfield), a pacifist who fought for his right to take the battlefield, serving as a medic in Japan during the Second World War. Without firing a single bullet, Doss rescued 75 soldiers during the battle of Okinawa in the spring of 1945 and was the first conscientious objector in history to receive a Medal of Honor.

“I see stories like this, with a guy like Desmond, whose faith is unshakeable and I’m inspired by them,” Gibson tells reporters at a Beverly Hills hotel. “Maybe I can take a leaf out of his book on some level.”

Like Gibson, Doss was very religious – an unwavering Seventh Day Adventist when he voluntarily enlisted – so the subject matter is in the director’s wheelhouse.

But the Passion of the Christ-director says Hacksaw Ridge is more than just about a man and his faith – it’s a love story.

“I think it also highlights what it means for a man with conviction and faith to go into a situation that is hellish, hell on earth, a situation that reduces most men to the level of animals and in the midst of this maelstrom this man is able to hone his spirituality and choose something higher,” Gibson says. “Something above war, above religion, above everything – it’s like he goes in and he performs acts of love in the midst of hell. That’s the beauty of the story. It is the pinnacle of heroism.”

Garfield says the role as Doss is once in a lifetime and one that he may not have been able to do if he was still committed to playing Spider-Man (the actor was released after Sony Pictures decided to reboot the character for next year’s Homecoming).

“It’s very rare that you read a script that you say, ‘I have to do this,’” he says. “I wanted five years to prepare. When you have someone’s life that needs to be honoured… I wanted to know everything. I wanted to read everything. I went on to his property in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and went into his woodshed and handled his tools and walked around the lake he’d walk around and I spent the day there praying and just asking him to guide me through… There was a strange spirituality going on around the making of this film.”

One of the biggest movie stars of the ‘80s, ‘90s and the ‘00s, Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge is being hailed as his return to mainstream movie relevance.

After his arrest for a DUI in 2006, racist recordings and high-profile splits with Oksana Grigorieva and his wife of 30 years, Robyn Moore, Gibson had become a pariah in Hollywood.

Despite working semi-regularly (in 2010’s Edge of Darkness, 2011’s The Beaver and 2014’s Expendables 3, among other titles), Gibson hasn’t had a box office hit since 2004’s The Passion of the Christ.

His last success as an actor came in 2002’s Signs.

Gibson’s long road to cinematic redemption began when producers approached him with a screenplay written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight.

“It took a long time,” producer David Permut says of the decades-long journey to bring Doss’ story to the big screen. “But things are meant to be when they’re meant to be.”

After its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September, Hacksaw Ridge received a 10-minute standing ovation. And the film is getting early Oscar buzz.

But Gibson says filming the war picture was almost like making an independent film.

“I had 25% less than the budget of Braveheart and half the time — and that’s 20 years ago,” he says of the 59-day Australian shoot. “It looks pretty good for what we made it for.”

Of course, moviegoers will wonder why Gibson didn’t give himself a supporting role amongst a cast that includes Vince Vaughn, Luke Bracey and Hugo Weaving.

“I was in it,” Gibson tells Postmedia Network. “My shadow is in it. Also my arm is in it. This is a true story, I said to Hugo (Weaving), ‘Hugo, come do this film’ and he said ‘Okay,’ and then he said, ‘Oh no.’ His scheduling was such that he couldn’t do the scene in the courtroom, so I did it. So it’s my hand and shadow and we green screened him in later.”

Gibson is looking forward to his next act both in life and on film (he’s about to become a father for the ninth time with his 26-year-old girlfriend).

“One of the most flattering comments I got after people saw the film was, ‘Wow, this is the way people used to make films.’ And I was thinking, ‘Yeah, you mean like the ‘30s and the ‘40s?’ And they said, ‘No, the ‘80s.’

“It really made me laugh. But I don’t think they were kidding around.”

Twitter: @markhdaniell

MDaniell@postmedia.com

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