Teresa Palmer plays Andrew Garfield’s wife in ‘Hacksaw Ridge’

Teresa Palmer is becoming one of the most globally recognized actresses, bringing her talents to the US and worldwide from Adelaide, Australia. She has starred in many major films including box office hits Lights Out and Warm Bodies.

Now she stars as the wife of a pacifist soldier in Golden Globe Best Picture nominee Hacksaw Ridge, the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun.

Directed by Mel Gibson from a screenplay by Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight, Hacksaw Ridge also stars Andrew Garfield, Vince Vaughn, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, Luke Bracey and Sam Worthington.

One of the most beautiful and transformational moments in Desmond’s life comes on the cusp of war – when he bumps into the ravishing young nurse he is determined to charm and make his wife. Dorothy Schutte did indeed marry Desmond Doss, and became a beacon in his darkest moments at war.

Mel Gibson was excited to cast Australian actress Teresa Palmer in the role. “Teresa is so beautiful on camera and she brings a real warmth to this character that it needed. You almost see her as Desmond’s angel of mercy because Teresa puts that quality out there,” says the director.

Palmer felt an immediate connection to Dorothy. She explains: “I wanted to play Dorothy because she’s such a strong woman who knows what she wants yet she also has a tenderness and complexity to her. My grandmother and my grandfather both served in World War II — my grandfather was a fireman and my grandmother sent Morse code. I can remember them telling me stories about their romance during that time, and the script felt reminiscent of those tales that I grew up listening to.”

Palmer dove into research to play the role. “I really studied how women of the time spoke and walked, their elegance,” Palmer says. “I also thought a lot about my mother, her faith, and her gentler way of seeing the world, which reminded me of Dorothy.”

But Palmer equally wanted to get a sense of that head-spinning, first-love passion that unfolds between Dorothy and Desmond on the screen. “Dorothy so fiercely loves Desmond, and from the start, her belief in him is completely unwavering. I wanted to ensure that this love felt authentic and real and connected, because it is such a foundation for how they live.”

Andrew Garfield, who plays Desmond, found instant chemistry with Palmer as the two tried to capture what they had seen of the couple’s relationship. “There’s this amazing This is Your Life episode about Desmond where you see he and Dorothy interact together on stage,” Garfield explains. “They’re these very direct, no games, joyous, emotionally available people – and that’s what Teresa and I were excited about playing. Teresa is this unconditionally loving, nurturing force.”

Says Palmer in turn of Garfield: “Andrew lived and breathed Desmond Doss, he stayed in accent the entire time and he even held himself like Desmond the whole time. That put pressure on me, because he is so giving to his craft. I didn’t want to let him down and so I wanted to bring my all too.”

Producer Bill Mechanic concludes Palmer did just that: “We wanted someone the audience can see is able to inspire Desmond’s ongoing faith while he’s at war. Teresa plays Dorothy as a woman of her times yet whose beliefs are as strong as Desmond’s.”

Opening across the Philippines on February 22, 2017, Hacksaw Ridge will be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International.

‘Hacksaw Ridge’ tells of real-life soldiers who saved lives unarmed

From the Oscar-winning director of Braveheart comes Hacksaw Ridge, the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun.

He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Directed by Mel Gibson from a screenplay by Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight, Hacksaw Ridge stars Andrew Garfield, Teresa Palmer, Vince Vaughn, Hugo Weaving, Rachel Griffiths, Luke Bracey and Sam Worthington.

An unwavering Seventh Day Adventist, Desmond Doss was living in Virginia when he voluntarily enlisted in the U.S. Army. He had no interest in fighting, but rather Doss wanted to serve as a “non-combatant” medic. It was not a path with which the military was familiar, but Doss persisted. Skinny, vegetarian and unwilling to train on Saturdays let alone carry a gun, Doss was initially ridiculed and abused by his compatriots – who, convinced he would be a dangerous liability in the foxholes with them, tried every which way they could to drive him out of the army. But Doss persisted all the way to Okinawa, where his unit was ordered to take part in the near-impossible capture of the massive Maeda Escarpment – aka Hacksaw Ridge. Atop this steep, looming 400-foot cliff lay heavily fortified machine-gun nests, booby traps and Japanese soldiers in caves who vowed to fight to the end.

It was there that Doss demonstrated that he was made not only of principle but also rare courage. Facing a desperate assault of heavy fire, Doss refused to seek cover. When his battalion was ordered to retreat, he alone remained behind and ran repeatedly into the kill zone, with nothing but his convictions, to drag to safety an estimated 75 badly injured men who were destined to die had he not intervened.

Doss would go on to receive the Medal of Honor from President Harry Truman in October of 1945, with a citation that drew attention to “outstanding bravery and unflinching determination in the face of desperately dangerous conditions.” It was then that the journey to bring Doss’ story to the screen began. Those who heard what Doss had achieved and understood how unusual it was (there have since been only two other conscientious objectors awarded the Medal of Honor) immediately saw that that it was a potent and provocative story. But it would be another half century before it became a reality – in part because Doss chose to lead a quiet, humble life without the notoriety a film would bring.

But now with a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan and Australian writer Andrew Knight (The Water Diviner), as well as a highly accomplished team led by Academy Award® nominated director Mel Gibson, Doss’s unsung story would at last be told as only 21st Century filmmaking could. It would be not only a story of what men endured on Okinawa, but of the loved ones back home who shaped and bolstered Desmond Doss’ belief.

Producer Bill Mechanic, explains: “Desmond never wanted to sell his life rights, he didn’t want to popularize himself, feeling that that would be a contradiction to who he was. It wasn’t until late in his life that people convinced him that it was time to tell the story so that it would live on.”

Doss passed away at the age of 87 in March 2006. Several years before that, filmmaker Terry Benedict had received his blessing to begin producing a documentary about Doss, The Conscientious Objector, and secured the life rights to his story. Feeling the time was also right to explore bringing Doss’ story to motion picture audiences as a multi-layered drama, Benedict approached producer David Permut, who in turn approached Mechanic, who was thrilled to become involved.

Mechanic says: “I always saw this story as being about a man who has very strong beliefs — which are then tested in an absolute hell that he comes out of even stronger.”

Opening across the Philippines on February 22, 2017, Hacksaw Ridge will be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International.

Mel Gibson’s ‘Hacksaw Ridge’ vies for Best Picture, Director, Actor at Golden Globes

Director Mel Gibson’s critically acclaimed war film, Hacksaw Ridge, is vying for three major categories at the Golden Globe Awards on January 10, 2017, including the much-coveted Best Motion Picture – Drama.

Its two other nominations are for Best Director – Motion Picture for Mel Gibson and Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama for Andrew Garfield. The annual Golden Globe Awards is voted on by members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA).

Hacksaw Ridge centers on the story of Desmond T. Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist who became an army medic while adhering to his religious convictions of not carrying a weapon. He saved 75 men during the Battle of Okinawa in World War II.

In his reaction to the nominations, Mel Gibson said “I’m very appreciative of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s overwhelming recognition of Hacksaw Ridge. This film was a labour of love for everyone involved, and is also about a man who truly exemplified love and goodness. It’s thrilling to see Andrew Garfield nominated since he is the beating heart of our film. I share any honour received for this film and for myself with every actor and every crew member that came to the set each day giving their all to honour the story of our brave veterans, and most especially Desmond Doss, a true hero.”

“I am so incredibly moved by the HFPA and their recognition of this film and my work, especially considering the remarkably strong caliber of performances this year,” said Garfield in a statement on his nomination. “It’s an honor to stand with actors like Denzel Washington who have inspired me since I was old enough to watch movies. I’m very proud of Hacksaw Ridge and I share this with Bill Mechanic, David Permut and Mel who led the charge on this project with great vision, humility, integrity and love. I dedicate this nomination and my work to the incomparable Desmond Doss and all those who sacrifice themselves in the service of the protection and freedom of others. He is a profound symbol of healing and compassion for the times we are in.”

Hacksaw Ridge is the extraordinary true story of Desmond Doss (Garfield) who, in Okinawa during the bloodiest battle of WWII, saved 75 men without firing or carrying a gun. He was the only American soldier in WWII to fight on the front lines without a weapon, as he believed that while the war was justified, killing was nevertheless wrong. As an army medic, he single-handedly evacuated the wounded from behind enemy lines, braved fire while tending to soldiers and was wounded by a grenade and hit by snipers. Doss was the first conscientious objector awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Directed by Mel Gibson from a screenplay by Robert Schenkkan and Andrew Knight, Hacksaw Ridge is produced by David Permut, Bill Mechanic, Brian Oliver, William D. Johnson, Bruce Davey, Paul Currie, and Terry Benedict.

Opening across the Philippines on February 15, 2017, Hacksaw Ridge will be distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International.