It wasn’t too long ago that Andrew Garfield was swinging across the big screen in Peter Parker’s iconic spandex jumpsuit during his tenure as The Amazing Spider-Man. But as time and box-office results wore down the prospects of Garfield’s incarnation continuing, the talented actor found himself on the look out for new films that piqued his interest. Enter Hacksaw Ridge, a movie that not only looks like a sure-fire crowd pleaser, but could also spell out box office redemption for both Garfield and his director, Mel Gibson.
Garfield’s love for the role of Desmond Doss stems from a deep, abiding respect for the source material. In fact, during an appearance to promote the film at the Venice Film Festival, the actor discussed his stance on playing a real life hero versus playing a fictional creation. His preference for the former was explained with the following rationale, courtesy of Variety:
The fact that this man, who’s built like me, kind of as skinny as I am built, dragged men this size [points at Gibson] across the most rugged terrain under gunfire, sniper fire, the possibility of mortars and shells, and then lowered them down a 75-foot escarpment, not just once, but 75 times. It’s that kind of divine help.
While Desmond Doss doesn’t fill the traditional definition of a super hero, his ability to save so many lives under extreme pressure, without using a firearm for protection, is part of what’s always made Hacksaw Ridge such an intriguing prospect. Though the Mel Gibson film does cite a different source for Doss’s ”powers,” and it’s the reason why Gibson was attracted to the true story himself. Above all else, it’s Doss’ faith as a Seventh Day Adventist that Gibson feels best assisted the hero in his life’s pursuits. which is evident but not over-played in the following statement:
That’s what Desmond attributed his actions to, that power greater than himself. And the difference between a real superhero and comic book superhero is that real superheroes didn’t wear any spandex.
Sometimes, the truth plays better than fiction. In the case of Andrew Garfield and Mel Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge, both men have found something they identify with in the material, and have turned out a product that’s not only made them believers in the power of Doss’ story, it’s also won a lot of fans at the Venice Film Festival as well. Unfortunately for the rest of us, we have to wait until November 4th to see if Gibson’s latest directorial effort has earned its wave of standing ovations.