It pains me to say this, but we’re probably going to be talking about Steroid Santa (aka Mad Mel, aka Mel Gibson) for months. His first directorial project in a decade, Hacksaw Ridge, debuted at the Venice Film Festival over the weekend, and the reviews are incredible. Like, critics love this movie and they think it could potentially win real Oscars. As we discussed on Labor Day, the film is a true story about a conscientious objector during World War II named Desmond Doss. Doss refused to use a weapon during the entire war – he was a medic, and he ended up winning the Medal of Honor. Steroid Santa clearly thinks highly of Doss and related to Doss’s story of faith and sacrifice. Previously, Mel quipped that Doss was the real hero, not some comic book “superhero” in tights. Well, Mad Mel has a new interview where he says much the same thing, only he name-checks Batman vs. Superman specifically. Some highlights:
The low budget for filming in Australia: “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. 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.”
He doesn’t understand why studios greenlight films that cost $200 million to make: “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. 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?”
Hearing that BvS cost more than $250 million: “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.”
You can read the whole interview here at Deadline – I tried to skim the piece, but my God, that’s too much Mad Mel. I do have to admit something uncomfortable though… like, I dislike the man. I think he’s an abuser, an anti-Semite and an a—hole. But he’s not wrong about the way films are financed through studios. He’s not wrong AT ALL. It’s something I’ve been saying for years now: the current studio modus operandi is to throw good money after bad until you have these bloated, $200-million-plus budgets and studio executives are just praying that they can cook the books and break even and it happens time after time. And for what? Is this the new normal? Who says?
Photos courtesy of WENN.