Despite a successful run at the worldwide box office, Warner Bros.’ DC Comics blockbuster Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice didn’t exactly rub critics the right way; now, as evidenced by a recent interview with Deadline, you can count actor and director Mel Gibson as one of the film’s detractors.
Speaking about his latest film, Hacksaw Ridge, which premiered last weekend at the Venice Film Festival and serves as a directorial comeback for the 60-year-old filmmaker as the Oscar race heats up, Gibson revealed he made the picture on a modest (by studio standards) budget in Australia, and used the movie’s low production costs (and subsequent glowing reception) as leverage for which to critique rampant overspending in Hollywood.
“The exchange rate for the U.S. dollar was good at the time, and I think we locked in at about 72 cents on the dollar and took a $27 million budget and turned it into a $40 million budget,” he said of making Hacksaw Ridge. “It was a completely Australian film, all the players were Aussies except Andrew [Garfield] and Vince Vaughn. So the whole production is an Aussie film, but a very American story, which is kind of unusual.”
After confirming the budget for his previous directorial effort, 2006’s Apocalypto, hovered around the $30 million mark, Gibson said he doesn’t often think films which cost $200 million to produce are worth the investment.
“I look at them and scratch my head. I’m really baffled by it. I think there’s a lot of waste, but maybe if I did one of those things with the green screens I’d find out different,” he said. “It seems to me that you could do it for less… You’re spending outrageous amounts of money, $180 million or more, I don’t know how you make it back after the tax man gets you, and after you give half to the exhibitors. What did they spend on Batman v Superman that they’re admitting to?”
Deadline‘s Mike Fleming Jr. noted the film’s budget was around $250 million, without taking marketing costs into consideration. Gibson responded: “And it’s a piece of sh–. I’m not interested in the stuff. Do you know what the difference between real superheroes and comic book superheroes is? Real superheroes didn’t wear spandex. So I don’t know. Spandex must cost a lot.”
Hacksaw Ridge follows Desmond Doss, a pacifist who, during World War II, enlists in the U.S. army despite refusing to carry a weapon. He would later be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor — the first conscientious objector in history to do so. The film received a 10-minute standing ovation after its Venice premiere, and is widely seen as a potential awards season vehicle. Lionsgate will release the film to theaters on Nov. 4 — prime real estate on the road to the Oscars.
Read Gibson’s full interview with Deadline here, and watch the trailer for Hacksaw Ridge in the video above.