The other day I got to do something I’ve wanted to do for a long time: have an in-depth talk about filmmaking with Mel Gibson. While I’ve been a fan of Gibson’s for what feels like my entire life from his work in Mad Max and Lethal Weapon, I’m even more impressed by his talent behind the camera. As the director of The Man Without a Face, Braveheart, The Passion of the Christ, Apocalypto and his latest film, Hacksaw Ridge, Gibson has shown a keen eye for staging action that’s easy to follow.
After spending a great deal of time talking about Hacksaw Ridge – which tells the true story of a conscientious collaborator who won the Medal of Honor while refusing to carry a gun – I spent a few minutes talking about Braveheart. As most of you know, the 1995 film was nominated for ten Academy Awards at the 68th Academy Awards and won five: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Makeup, and Best Sound Editing.
As a big fan of the film, I was always curious if Gibson had a longer cut, even though the theatrical version was close to three hours. While I expected Gibson to tell me he had a few scenes that were removed in editing, he actually revealed his original cut was three hours and forty five minutes! He went on to say he has an hour of footage that’s never been seen.
Of course I asked him if anyone ever asked him about doing a special edition which included the extra scenes, or if he might consider releasing the footage. He said, “People have mentioned it. It’s a big deal.” He went on to say if the studios wanted to pay for he’d be cool with doing it. Needless to say, I hope someone opens up their wallet as I’d love to see the footage. After talking about the longer cut, Gibson talked about how they managed to get the film down to its theatrical release running time and the key note from a studio executive.