One of Australia’s premier actor-directors, Mel Gibson makes his glorious return behind the camera with Hacksaw Ridge, and star Teresa Palmer has nothing but praise for the director and her leading man, Andrew Garfield.

Casting Andrew Garfield in the lead role of WWII hero Desmond T. Doss, Mel Gibson continues to explore his fascination with warfare following his roles in The Patriot, Gallipoli, We Were Soldiers, The Year of Living Dangerously and his directorial debut with 1995 Oscar-winner Braveheart, in which he also portrayed 14th Century Scottish rebel William Wallace.

After a decade of personal turmoil, unwelcome media attention and underwhelming ensemble performances in mediocre macho movies like The Expendables 3 and Machete Kills, Gibson returns to his focus behind the camera, directing Garfield as an army medic who served during the Battle of Okinawa, and who, in his refusal to kill people, became the first Conscientious Objector in American history to be awarded the Medal of Honor.

Gibson’s Hacksaw Ridge leading lady Teresa Palmer left the set with nothing less than awe her director. “I loved him. We had a really good rapport. He is such a fantastic director. I mean, he’s been acting for so many years. He knows how to converse with actors in a way that helps you to understand the character. He knows how to meet your needs for the scene. He’s just a really special guy and making this film was just a wonderful experience.

“One of the things I noticed about him is that he is so generous with his time with people and he knew everyone’s name on the crew and he would sit down and give everyone the time of day and really ask them about their life and ask good questions. He cared about people and I loved that, and I could feel that and the crew just fell in love with him. I’m very proud of the movie.”

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Palmer reserves her biggest praise for Andrew Garfield: “He is breathtaking in this film. It’s my favourite performance I’ve witnessed of his. So beautiful. I hope everyone takes notice and he gets nominated.”

The actress doesn’t hold back on her enthusiasm for Hacksaw Ridge, despite the fact she still hasn‘t seen a final cut when STACK meets with her in Los Angeles. “A lot of my team have seen it and given me the feedback that it’s amazing; Mel’s best film ever – and I’ve loved all his other movies. So hopefully it lives up to the hype.”

Palmer has nothing but sympathy for Gibson’s unfortunate media maelstrom. “Everyone, I think, has moments in their life where they are going through things, but it’s very rare that they’re on a public stage and that things play out in the media and publicly and if some of my family’s meltdowns were public it would be mortifying. I just went into this experience knowing that I would have my own dynamic with him and I’d come in without any sort of judgment or expectations and I was just really blown away by him in a really positive way.”

Hacksaw Ridge is in cinemas from November 3.