You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Mel Gibson on the ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ Artisans Who Brought WWII to Life

Mel Gibson’s “Hacksaw Ridge” looks like a mega-budget epic, though it was filmed in only 59 days on $40 million. The saga tells the true story of Desmond Doss, who wanted to serve during WWII, but refused to carry a gun. The opening moments show vivid scenes of battle while Andrew Garfield’s voice is heard reading a psalm. “I wanted to juxtapose the crazy war images with the lyricism of the psalm,” Gibson says. “This was a situation that reduces men to the level of animals, yet Desmond Doss always kept his higher self intact. The spirituality doesn’t work unless you see how hellish it was. What the guy did was unbelievable.” Gibson singled out some of his colleagues who helped bring the story to life.

Editor, John Gilbert
I have such respect for this guy, with all the footage that we had, making it move along, making it snap. The first battle scene was fog — “What’s out there?” — and extremely violent. The second was faster and more overrun, a lot of explosions. The third is almost lyrical. At that point, you don’t want to focus too much on the battle stuff, you want it more impressionistic.

Production design, Barry Robison
He did excellent work with such limited resources. It was all filmed in New South Wales, but Barry created Lynchburg and Okinawa. And he got away with it! We showed the film to some folks in Lynchburg, Va. They said, “How did you get up to the Peaks of Otter (in the Blue Ridge Mountains) without our knowing about it?” They thought we’d shot in the area. One guy in Lynchburg said, “I was born in that hospital!” Actually, Barry found the hospital in Manly, just outside Sydney. For Okinawa, he found cliffs in Goulburn, and married them to that huge battlefield, which was 300 miles away, but made it look like the same place.

Re-recording mixer, Kevin O’Connell
He hears the story. Sometimes he would say quietly, “Might I suggest something?” And you think “Yeah!” He’d come in and would have all kinds of weird stuff; sometimes he would turn down the
roar of battle and pick up the sharp sounds of metal hitting helmets or of a flapping flag. He’s the best.

Cinematographer, Simon Duggan
He lit everything beautifully; he was mobile and agile. When we started I said, “For the battles, we will get the rough stuff, but I don’t want a shaky camera all the time.” He’s a great camera guy, and all his crews were great too.

Makeup, Shane Thomas
The war carnage, the wounds — dynamic stuff. I’m sure it wasn’t easy and he did it on a budget. We had maybe 100 guys playing American soldiers, and 70 Japanese soldiers, though it looks like we had thousands. It was enormous, but it was all in a day’s work for Shane and his great team.

Visual effects supervisor, Chris Godfrey
Some of the battle stuff — we wanted to make it look like the whole place was exploding. We had a lot was practical explosions, but there were also a lot of effects in there. And when you watch the film, I’ll bet you can’t tell the difference. If special effects are there and you don’t know where they are, that’s great special effects.

First AD, P.J. Voeten
He’s kind of a computer with legs. He’s very logical and so organized, which I need, to allow me the time in my playpen.

More Film

  • Colin Firth

    Colin Firth's Fantasy-Drama 'The Secret Garden' Bought by STX

    STXFilms has acquired North American distribution rights to “The Secret Garden,” a movie adaptation of the beloved children’s novel that was in development at Global Road Entertainment for the past year. The film stars Oscar winner Colin Firth and Julie Walters. Marc Munden (“The Crimson Petal and the White”) directs from a script by Jack [...]

  • Frank Grillo Hell on the Border

    Frank Grillo Signs With CAA (EXCLUSIVE)

    “The Purge” star Frank Grillo has signed with CAA for representation, sources tell Variety. Grillo’s long list of credits includes “The Purge: Anarchy,” “The Purge: Election Year,” “Captain America: Winter Soldier,” “Captain America: Civil War,” “Wheelman,” and “Warrior.” On the TV side, he was the star of the Audience drama series “Kingdom,” which also starred [...]

  • The Top 10 Portrayals of Record

    The Dirt on Rock's Great Enablers: 10 Memorable Screen Portrayals of Record Execs

    In the Netflix biopic “The Dirt,” Pete Davidson of “Saturday Night Live” fame portrays A&R exec Tom Zutaut, the man who signed Motley Crue to Elektra and Guns N’ Roses to Geffen, while veteran character actor David Costabile (“The Wire,” “Billions”) is manager Doc McGhee. They follow in a long and illustrious line of label [...]

  • Korea Box Office: "Money" Wins Debut

    Korea Box Office: 'Money' Defeats 'Captain Marvel'

    Korean crime drama “Money” debuted on top of the South Korean box office, preventing “Captain Marvel” from topping the chart for three consecutive weekends. It is the story of a young stockbroker who dreams of riches but becomes caught in a stock market scam. Opening on Wednesday, the Showbox release earned $12.0 million from 1.54 [...]

  • Us Movie

    'Us' Cements the Box Office Power of Jordan Peele

    Given the breakout success of “Get Out,” it’s no surprise audiences were salivating to see the next nightmare from the mind of writer-director Jordan Peele. “Get Out,” which landed a screenwriting Oscar for Peele, became one of the most profitable movies of 2017 (grossing $255 million globally on a $4.5 million budget) after the horror [...]

  • Box Office Film Placeholder

    China Box Office: Taiwan's 'More Than Blue' Wins Second Weekend

    Taiwanese melodrama, “More Than Blue” held strong at the Chinese box office, to secure a second week of success. The film is a Chinese-language remake of a Korean film from 2009, involving Singapore’s MM2 and the filmmaking arm of Fox Networks. With little in the way of strong, new competition, “blue” scored $27 million, according [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content