Exclusive Interview with Mel Gibson
Twelve Years After The Passion of Christ, Mel Gibson says no to war with the story of Desmond Doss, a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and the first conscientious objector to be awarded The Medal of Honor, the highest honor of the US Army. Gibson takes us back to the real theatre of World War II. With his unshakable faith for a weapon, Doss managed to save dozens of wounded soldiers by bringing them one after another from the battlefield under the fire of the enemy.
Can you give us a brief summary of the movie?
This movie is based on a true story, the life of Desmond Doss, a conscientious objector who really existed. He refused violence and was led by his principles and religious beliefs, but he still wanted to serve his country as a doctor during the Second World War. Imagine a person traveling to the most dangerous place on the planet without a weapon. Well Desmond did it.
What can you tell us about your collaboration with Andrew Garfield who superbly interpreted the role of Desmond Doss?
Andrew is a great actor. He is young, but you can never guess his age! You might think he’s 22 or 32 years old, you never really know with his gray hair.
He’s a man who is strongly attached to his personal convictions and beliefs; he simply has everything he needs to interpret this role.
Andrew is really gifted, and this movie is centered on a single character, so all eyes are on him.
What about Vince Vaughn?
Vince is a talented actor. He perfectly fits the role of the sergeant-instructor, who is a rough and compassionate man at the same time. At the beginning of the movie, you’ll think he’s a maniac but you will soon discover a sensitive young man.
Desmond Doss was described as a conscientious collaborator instead of an objector, what seduced you in this character?
He was a collaborator because he wanted to participate in the war, not to kill but to save lives, unlike all those who were on the front lines.
And that's what he did, he saved lives. I believe he was awarded a medal of honor for saving nearly 75 wounded soldiers under bombing. He refused to hold a weapon, which made people say he was a madman, but despite everything, he remained attached to his convictions... To earn a medal of honor, usually, a person must have shown heroic action at some point of his life, but Doss did it for months, 24/7.
Have you had the opportunity to meet him?
Unfortunately no, he passed away in 2008, at the age of 87, before I could meet him.
Why is it important to trace the relationship between Desmond and his family?
I find it interesting to draw a portrait of a person who really existed, to look for the people who meant to him or those who loved him. Yes, he had enemies even though he was peaceful and non-violent. He saved the same people who humiliated him and caused him many problems. This actually might be the most important aspect of the movie.