November 27, 2014

Mel Gibson Considers Movie About Adventist War Hero

The story of Desmond T. Doss, the Seventh-day Adventist who became the first conscientious objector to win the U.S. Congressional Medal of Honor, is being considered for a Hollywood movie directed by Mel Gibson and starring Andrew Garfield.

Gibson, an Oscar-winning director for his 1995 film Braveheart, is in talks to direct the new movie Hacksaw Ridge about Private First Class Doss, The Hollywood Reporter said.

If the deal goes through, Doss would be played by Garfield, star of the Amazing Spider-Man movies.

Doss was drafted to fight in World War II in 1942, but he refused to carry a weapon or kill for religious reasons. He ended up serving as a medic in the Pacific theater, where he was ridiculed and ostracized by other soldiers for his Adventist beliefs. Still, he determined to do his best and was declared a war hero when he single-handedly saved 75 men in the Battle of Okinawa. Doss died in 2006 at the age of 87.

Doss’ story may be best known to Adventists from The Unlikeliest Hero, a book by Booton Herndon and released in 1967 by Pacific Press. Younger generations may know him from The Conscientious Objector, a 2004 documentary film made with his participation.

Hacksaw Ridge has been on the drawing board for 13 years, The Hollywood Reporter said.

Gibson is a Roman Catholic believer perhaps best known in religious circles for directing The Passion of the Christ, a graphically violent account of Jesus’ death released in 2004.

Adventists have received the Hollywood treatment in the past. The story of Lindy Chamberlain, the wife of an Adventist pastor in Australia who fought for years to prove her innocence after her 9-week-old baby girl disappeared during a 1980 camping trip, was portrayed in the 1988 movie “A Cry in the Dark.” Actress Meryl Streep received an Oscar nomination for her performance as Chamberlain.