GIBSON BATTLING BACK
Andrew Garfield spent three months exploring the extraordinary character of Desmond Doss, the real-life hero whose story is told in Mel Gibson’s gritty war film Hacksaw Ridge.
Spider-man star Garfield, 33, plays an American war hero who saved many lives in Okinawa, Japan, under lethal fire. A war hero, yes. Extraordinary? Most certainly. Desmond served in the military as an unarmed medic who refused to fight because of his religious principals. He rescued an estimated 75 badly injured men who would otherwise have died in the kill zone - without carrying or firing a gun. Garfield says: “There wasn’t any hesitation when I read the script. I think it’s rare in this world to have someone like Desmond, who is so tuned into themselves, so tuned into what that still, small voice inside is saying, that no matter what is thrown at them, they know what they can do, and what they will not do. Desmond treated the enemy with as much care as he would treat his fellow Americans.” Gibson has been praised for his direction in Braveheart and Apocalypto. The Australian felt it was a privilege and an honour to tell the story of a true hero. He says: “Desmond Doss abhorred violence, it was against his principles, his religious beliefs, but he wanted to serve his country. How does somebody go into the worst place on earth without a weapon? It was all the more compelling to me, because it was a true story, and I thought I could bring my visual language to it.” The 60-year-old is still struggling to comprehend his central character’s bravery - and morals. “He was a cooperator in the sense that he passionately wanted to join the war effort. But he wanted to enter it as someone aiming not to take life but to save it, believing that he had plenty to contribute without having to kill other human beings. “You have to ask, what kind of madman goes into war without being armed? One of the things that stood out to me about Desmond is that in Okinawa, this guy was heroic 24/7, for a whole month. He took heroism to another level not often seen.”
CHARGING: Hacksaw Ridge stars Andrew Garfield, above, and Vince Vaughn (far right)
DIRECT APPROACH: Mel Gibson with girlfriend Rosalind Ross