Mel Gibson’s ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ to Shoot in Australia

Hacksaw Ridge,” the tale of wartime heroism that marks Mel Gibson’s return to directing, is poised to shoot in Australia.

Australian media have reported that the production will shoot in one of three Australian states: Queensland, New South Wales or Victoria. Producer, Bill Mechanic told Variety that the destinations have not yet been pinned down.

“We are absolutely targeted to shoot in Australia, however we haven’t yet scouted locations so are unsure which states we’ll make use of.  Most likely more than one of the three [states], but we haven’t even begun to narrow the process yet,” Mechanic said.

The film is based on the life of Desmond T. Doss, the first conscientious objector to win the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving dozens of soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa while serving as a medic. Andrew Garfield is set to portray Doss, who was a Seventh Day Adventist and received two Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts.

Production is by David Permut and Mechanic, with Cross Creek Pictures’ Brian Oliver and Tyler Thompson. 

Hacksaw Ridge” would be Gibson’s first film as director since 2006’s “Apocalypto” and since controversies in his personal life disrupted his Hollywood career. Gibson was born in New York State, but is widely assumed to be an Australian native, having moved to Sydney as a child. He enjoyed his first film industry successes with key roles in classic Australian titles including the “Mad Max” trilogy and “Gallipoli.”

The project was one of the few stand out sales pre-sales titles at last month’s European Film Market in Berlin. Headline deals were closed by IM Global in major markets with Universum (Germany), Andrea Leone (Italy), DeaPlaneta (Spain), Mis Label (Scandinavia) and Pancinema (Korea). Sun Distribution has snatched up rights to Mexico, Brazil and Latin American pay-TV, and most, although not all, the rest of Latin America. A North American deal has yet to be sealed.

Mechanic is currently in advanced production on two other major films “The Moon And The Sun,” and that have shot ‘Down Under’ and taken advantage of incentives from local state and federal government agencies. The weakening of the Australian dollar against the U.S. currency in the past 18 months has also made Australia an increasingly popular filming choice for Hollywood and major indie titles.

Mechanic’s Gallic-themed, mermaid fantasy “The Moon And The Sun,” directed by Sean McNamara, scripted by Ron Bass and starring Pierce Brosnan, William Hurt and China’s Fan Bingbing, is now in post-production after shooting in France and the Docklands Studios in Melbourne.

Thriller “2.22,” directed by Paul Currie, and starring Teresa Palmer and Sam Reid, is now shooting. It has made use of locations in New South Wales and the Fox Studios in Sydney.

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