GQ (Australia) - - GQ INC. - WORDS JAKE MIL­LAR

Some called it Mel Gib­son’s big come­back, his chance at a fresh be­gin­ning. The crowds at the Venice Film Fes­ti­val cer­tainly agreed – stand­ing and ap­plaud­ing for 10 min­utes as the cred­its rolled af­ter the premiere in Septem­ber. Whether or not the rave re­views for Hacksaw Ridge mean redemp­tion for Gib­son re­mains to be seen. But there is no doubt the film’s real tri­umph is its cast. The story of US war hero Des­mond Doss, it has a dose of Hol­ly­wood star power with An­drew Garfield and Vince Vaughn, though Hacksaw Ridge is a thor­oughly Aus­tralian af­fair. Shot in Syd­ney, it fea­tures some of the coun­try’s great­est act­ing tal­ent. To cel­e­brate this epic World War II film and the en­sem­ble be­hind it, we asked the key cast to re­flect on their time on set.

Mel Gib­son, di­rec­tor

“We all hope and feel that we did the right thing in hon­our­ing this guy’s mem­ory. In wartime sit­u­a­tions, peo­ple think about the big­ger pic­ture – some­thing big­ger than them­selves. How does a guy go into a sit­u­a­tion like that, un­armed, and do what he did? I think I’d want some kind of weaponry, whether I’d use it or not. Who knows? I never want to find out.”

An­drew Garfield, Cor­po­ral Des­mond Doss

“The bat­tle scenes were in­tense, phys­i­cal and of­ten very emo­tional ex­pe­ri­ences – try­ing to place your­self in one of the clos­est places to hell that hu­mans have ever been. But at the same time, it was ex­cit­ing and fas­ci­nat­ing. I got to run around a play­ground, pre­tend­ing to be a hero do­ing un­be­liev­ably brave things on a bat­tle­field. It was a lot of fun.”

Teresa Palmer, Dorothy Schutte

“Mel just handed us the reins, which let us re­ally ex­plore and try dif­fer­ent things. He cre­ated a safe space to have that ex­pe­ri­ence. I learnt that I pre­fer work­ing that way with my di­rec­tor – it res­onates with me as a per­former.”

Vince Vaughn, Sergeant How­ell

“I’ve al­ways liked Aus­tralia, and I loved the cast and crew – they were tremen­dous. You know, there are a lot of great per­form­ers among these young ac­tors. They have a great work ethic but they’re not pre­ten­tious. I had a fan­tas­tic time around them. It was a re­ally unique group.”

Luke Bracey, Smitty Ryker

“The crew and cast were one of the most fun and pro­fes­sional I have ever worked with. And that is easy to see in the qual­ity of this film. Ev­ery per­son in­volved was just as com­mit­ted as the next. I have only re­ally worked in Aus­tralia at the start of my ca­reer, so to come home, back to Syd­ney, and make such a beau­ti­ful and im­por­tant story was so special.”

Ben Min­gay, Grease Nolan

“To work with the best Aus­tralian tal­ent, some of whom I had idolised as a young ac­tor, was a real hon­our. We all spent so much time to­gether from day one, and it was only nat­u­ral we be­came our own lit­tle band of broth­ers. It also helped that everyone had an ex­cep­tional work ethic and re­ally em­braced the op­por­tu­nity to be part of the team. This film is world class and def­i­nitely gives me a sense of pride and ex­cite­ment about our film in­dus­try. We all feel pretty special to have been a part of Hacksaw Ridge.”

Hugo Weav­ing, Tom Doss

“My pref­er­ence is to do films here in Aus­tralia, when I can. I’ve al­ways thought Aus­tralian ac­tors are ex­tremely good, and I’m not at all sur­prised how many of them are in this film. I’ve worked here for many years and I think there are some un­be­liev­ably gifted ac­tors – many of them most peo­ple will never have heard of. I’ve felt sur­rounded by great tal­ent here.”

Fi­rass Di­rani, Vito Rin­nelli

“You have to re­mem­ber that young sol­diers like the char­ac­ters we were play­ing went to war and some never made it back. It puts ev­ery­thing in per­spec­tive. The hor­ror, and night­mare these guys went through. When you have real ex­plo­sions and rocks being blasted around you, there’s no time to act. I had an in­cred­i­ble time work­ing with all the Aussie com­rades. Shoot­ing in Syd­ney, hav­ing the best crew in the coun­try, and work­ing with one of the best direc­tors in the world, the spir­its were high on set.”

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