Mel Gibson talks about his new film 'Hacksaw Ridge,' about soldier who had 'strong conviction and strong faith'

Published 09 September 2016  |  

Mel Gibson took a 10-year break from directing, but he is coming back with a vengeance with his latest epic called "Hacksaw Ridge," a movie based on the true-to-life story of Desmond Doss, a corporal in the U.S. Army who managed to save 75 lives during the Battle of Okinawa.

Doss was a Seventh-Day Adventist who refused to enter the battlefield with any weapon. He also became the first conscientious objector to receive the American Medal of Honor. During the Battle of Okinawa, Doss and his fellow soldiers were assaulted by the Japanese on top of a towering 400-foot cliff called Hacksaw Ridge.

The Japanese soldiers attacked using machine gun and flame throwers, but an unarmed Doss bravely faced the withering fire to save wounded soldiers. As others retreated, Doss carried injured men on to the edge of the cliff and lowered them down using a rope-supported litter he created.

Gibson tells The Hollywood Reporter that Doss' valiant act was largely due to the soldier's Christian faith. "It's undeniable what the essence of Desmond Doss was. He was a man of great courage and strong conviction and strong faith," he says.

"To go in to a battle zone like that – I think the Japanese called it a steel rain – with the artillery and the lead that was flying around, to go into that armed with only your faith, your faith has to be strong indeed. That's an undeniable part of the story that I just find really inspiring. He just conquers everything," he continues.

Doss refused to violate two of the 10 Commandments - the Sixth, which is "thou shall not kill" and the Fourth, which stresses the importance of "honoring the Sabbath," so he chose to become a medic.

"That's what Desmond attributed his actions to, that power greater than himself. And the difference between a real superhero and comic book superhero is that real superheroes didn't wear any spandex," says Gibson.

"Hacksaw Ridge," which stars Andrew Garfield as Doss, will be released on Nov. 4, 2016.


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