Mel Gibson has walked the red carpet in Sydney alongside his pregnant girlfriend Rosalind Ross for the Australian premiere of his WWII drama Hacksaw Ridge.
It was a homecoming of sorts for the Australian actor/director who described the movie, filmed in NSW, as a homegrown creation and praised the local cast and crew.
“It was such a great experience. Top level, top notch talent here in every field,” Gibson told AAP on the red carpet on Sunday evening.
“This is a 100 per cent homegrown product, from the craft service guy to the director of photography to the special effects guy, everything.”
While British/American actor Andrew Garfield plays the lead character, Desmond Doss, the rest of the cast reads like a who’s who of Australian cinema with Teresa Palmer, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, Sam Worthington and Richard Roxburgh all playing major parts.
The film follows the true story of Doss, a conscientious objector who served as a medic in WWII and saved 75 lives at the Battle of Okinawa.
“Anybody who has that kind of conviction and the courage to stand by those convictions in the face of a lot of opposition and difficulty, they usually end up dead those people, but they’re examples to all of us and inspiring to all of us I think,” Gibson said.
“That’s why these are the stories we tell. That’s why this story is worth telling on film.”
The film received many positive reviews, including a standing ovation at its recent world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
Gibson’s first time behind the camera since Apocalypto, which flopped at the box office 10 years ago, has been described as a return to form, particularly by his Aussie cast.
“He has now become my favourite director that I’ve ever worked with in my career. He’s wonderful,” actress Teresa Palmer told AAP.
The actress was also in Sydney for the premiere, making the trip from her home in LA at 31 weeks’ pregnant.
And she revealed she will be making the trip again at 36 weeks.
Australian acting veterans Rachel Griffiths and Hugo Weaving also extolled the virtues of working with Gibson.
“He’s a wonderful director and he’s a great actor and it was a real treat to work with him. He’s a very warm man, a good man,” Weaving said.