Mel Gibson's 'Hacksaw Ridge' Begins Filming

Mark Rogers
'Hacksaw Ridge'

Rachel Griffiths, Teresa Palmer and Richard Roxburgh have joined the WWII film.

Director Mel Gibson's World War II film, Hacksaw Ridge, has begun production in New South Wales, Australia.

The film stars Andrew Garfield as conscientious objector Desmond T. Doss, and just-announced additions to the cast include Rachel Griffiths, Teresa Palmer and Richard Roxburgh, while Gibson’s son Milo has also claimed a role.

Vince Vaughn, Sam Worthington and Luke Bracey were previously announced as heading the cast alongside Garfield.

Hacksaw Ridge is the true story of conscientious objector Doss, who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing a gun. Believing that the war was just but killing was nevertheless wrong, he was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon.

Worthington plays Captain Glover, who is in charge of the unit, while Vaughn plays Sergeant Howell, whose job is to get the new recruits ready for battle. Bracey is Smitty Ryker, the alpha of the platoon that Doss belongs to. As an army medic, Doss single-handedly evacuated the wounded near enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. He was the first conscientious objector to ever win the Congressional Medal of Honor.

The film also takes place in Doss’ hometown of Lynchburg, Va., and Palmer has been cast as his sweetheart Dorothy Shutte, with Griffiths playing Desmond’s mother, Bertha Doss.

"While production has only just begun, there is already incredible camaraderie between the cast,” Gibson said. “Not only is Andrew perfect for the role of Desmond Doss, the entire cast are an incredible mix of experience, depth and exciting up-and-coming talent.”

Hacksaw Ridge is the first film Gibson has directed since 2006's Apocalypto.

“I worked with Mel 20 years ago on Braveheart, and this is the first film I thought not only worthy of him but perfect for him,” said producer Bill Mechanic. “Desmond Doss is as unique a hero as William Wallace, and there is no better director to bring the story to life than Mel. It’s taken seemingly forever to mount the film properly, but we now have an amazing cast, a script that resonates and the ideal director, so [I] couldn’t be more excited now that we’re underway."

The film is a Cosmos Filmed Entertainment and Cross Creek Pictures production, produced by Pandemonium Films' Mechanic and Permut Productions' David Permut along with Bruce Davey and Paul CurrieJames M. Vernon is executive producing, and the screenplay is by Andrew Knight,  Robert Schenkkan and Randall Wallace.  

Director of photography is Simon Duggan, Barry Robison is production designer and Lizzy Gardiner is costume designer. Nikki Barrett is casting director, and composer is Academy Award nominee John Debney.

Hacksaw Ridge will be distributed in 2016 by Icon Film Distribution in Australia and Lionsgate/Summit in the U.S., with IM Global handling international sales.

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