Mel Gibson looks to be staging a comeback, and it’ll be a return to his war epic directorial roots if it comes to fruition. THR reports that Gibson is slated to direct the World War II drama Hacksaw Ridge, which tells the true story of war hero Desmond T. Doss, a private who was drafted in 1942 but refused to kill or carry a weapon. He was stationed in the Pacific where he worked as a medic and was ostracized for his beliefs, but he became a hero when he saved 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa, helping to evacuate the wounded and putting himself directly in the line of fire. And not only is Gibson looking to direct this as his next film, but a very talented young actor is in talks to star: Andrew Garfield. More after the jump.
While Gibson’s first directorial feature was the modest 1993 drama The Man Without a Face, he scored a home run with his 1995 film Braveheart, for which he won the Oscars for Best Picture and Best Director. That picture kicked off a trend of hardened period films featuring a strong male lead (eg. The Patriot, Gladiator, etc.), and though Gibson’s reputation has suffered in recent years, one imagines a big WWII picture could possibly get him back in the game.
Per THR, The Amazing Spider-Man and The Social Network actor Andrew Garfield is in talks to star in Hacksaw Ridge as Doss, marking yet another interesting role in the talented young actor’s career. Since landing the lead in Spider-Man he’s only filmed one other feature, the tense housing crisis drama 99 Homes (set for release next year), but he’s next set to star in the religious drama Silence for director Martin Scorsese, and with Sony rethinking its Spider-Man plans, his schedule may be more amenable to letting him tackle more challenging material in the near future—though he certainly made for an excellent Peter Parker.
A film about Doss has been kicking around for years and was originally housed at Disney, where Gibson’s Braveheart screenwriter Randall Wallace was set to direct. Cross Creek Pictures is financing this iteration of the project with David Permut, Bill Mechanic, Brian Oliver, and Tyler Thompson producing, and the goal is to start production next year. A curious prospect to be sure, I’ll be interested to see if the film comes together despite Gibson remaining on the “outs” with Hollywood.