“I’m very fortunate to work on films that inspire me,” he reflected on portraying Desmond T. Doss, the only conscientious objector to ever be awarded a congressional Medal of Honor for heroism. Doss was a Seventh-day Adventist who became a medic while adhering to his religious convictions of not carrying a weapon. He saved 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II.
“He’s an incredible model of what it is to love and treat everyone equally,” Garfield noted. “I tried to absorb as much of his essence as possible. I was able to go to his hometown and handle his old tools in sort of a mystical thing where you hope to absorb his essence.”
Garfield said the experience was deeply personal: “How lucky that that’s my life. I get to be a historian passionately investigating things that inspire me. It’s a pretty cool situation.”
A beaming Gibson was fulsome in his praise for Garfield, best known for portraying “Spider-Man.”
“There was no Spandex,” Gibson said with a laugh. “He was a real superhero. I think we got a lot of bang for the buck.”
Gibson came to “Hacksaw Ridge” in 2014 after it had been in development for 14 years. “I read the script and was crying.”
“Hacksaw” screenwriter Robert Schenkkan said on the red carpet that Doss’ character carried a contemporary resonance.
“This an important movie in the age of Donald Trump to present a truly modest hero,” he said.
The movie project started a decade and a half ago when veteran producer David Permut was on the set of Disney movie “Double Take” when he heard about Desmond Doss.
Permut reflected Monday on the project’s long journey, noting that the 16 years was needed to get the right director and star.
“It wasn’t meant to be after 10 years; we needed 16,” he joked.
“Hacksaw Ridge” bows Nov. 4.