Mel Gibson

We Were Soldiers

Interviewed by Ben Falk

Why did you choose to do this movie?

It's a very compelling story. They were ordinary people in a extraordinary situation and what we're doing, I think, is making a living monument, like a moving monument on film to these guys.

How did you handle all the action sequences?

I've done boot camps with the S.A.S. in Australia and I did some in the States with the Rangers. But, you know, we get to go and have a drink of water and the bullets aren't real! We got it pretty easy. The worst thing is breathing in all the dust and smoke they pump in at you. You have to cough a big lungful of that out every night.

At this time in the world, there's fears this could just be an American propaganda movie?

Moore said Hollywood got it wrong every time, sharpening their twisted political knives on the bones of our dead brothers and that wasn't the war they fought. Usually war films are about the Vietnam conflict focus on the very negative aspect of it, drug use, and all that kind of stuff. The film doesn't only focus on the American point of view. It looks at it from the North Vietnamese point of view as well. It's almost impartial in that way. There's kind of a compassion and an understanding of both sides and what they're both doing. They're both trying to do the same thing.

What's your favourite Vietnam War film?

I liked "The Deer Hunter", I thought that was cool. But that was a whole other thing, that was a whole other level.