Mel Gibson 'surviving' in Hollywood as war drama premiers in Venice

Sun Sep 4, 2016 1:09pm EDT
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By Agnieszka Flak

VENICE (Reuters) - Mel Gibson called his relationship with Hollywood "survival" as he prepared for the Venice film festival premiere of a war drama that marks his directorial comeback after a turbulent decade in his personal life.

The Oscar winner's troubled years began in 2006, when he was arrested for drunk driving and responded with an anti-Semitic tirade. That led to headlines around the world, tarnished his reputation and set back a remarkable career that had made him one of Hollywood's highest paid actors, directors and producers.

But in Venice the 60-year-old is set to premiere "Hacksaw Ridge", a gripping war epic about a pacifist during World War II that cannot but move.

The film tells the true story of Desmond Doss, an army medic who refused to bear arms but later received the Medal of Honour for saving 75 of his comrades. The movie is screening in the out-of-competition section in Venice.

"It's a man in the worst situation possible, in the midst of hell on earth, and he goes into that struggle armed with nothing than faith and conviction, and he sticks by those things and does something extraordinary ... that inspired me," Gibson told a press conference.

The "Lethal Weapon" actor and maker of action thriller "Apocalypto" said he hoped the movie would result in more attention being paid to veterans returning from conflict.

"When they come back, they need some love, they need some understanding," he said.

The film starts with a love story set in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains and eventually moves to the Battle of Okinawa, where Doss, played by Andrew Garfield, must find his way amongst butchered corpses, scattered limbs and intestines to bring his comrades back to safety.   Continued...

Director and actor Mel Gibson (L) and actor Andrew Garfield attend the photocall for the movie "Hacksaw Ridge" at the 73rd Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy September 4, 2016. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi