Mel Gibson Set To Direct New WW2 Drama 'Destroyer'

Mel Gibson is set to direct World War Two drama Destroyer, a retelling of the story of the USS Laffey, dubbed 'the ship that would not die', reports the Hollywood Reporter.

Not long after it was commissioned in 1944, the ship was involved in the Normandy invasion, action in the Philippines and landings at Iwo Jima, before earning it's famous nickname during the Battle of Okinawa.

The film, based on John Wukovits book Hell From the Heavens: The Epic Story of the USS Laffey and World War II's Greatest Kamikaze Attack, will focus on the battle, which took place in April, 1945.

In the midst of the Okinawa offensive, the Laffey was heavily attacked by kamikaze pilots. Five crashed into the ship, another grazed it's hull and five more bombed the warship, but it managed to withstand the onslaught.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Despite the heavy damage it received - along with the deaths of 32 men and injuries to 71 - the Laffey survived the Battle of Okinawa and was later used during both the Korean and Cold wars before being decommissioned in the 1970s and turned into a museum.

Gibson was nominated for an Oscar for his previous film, Hacksaw Ridge, which was also set during the Battle of Okinawa, telling the story of pacifist medic Desmond Doss, who rescued several soldiers.

The nomination seemed to herald a return to grace for the actor/director, who had become persona non grata for a period following revelations of antisemitism, sexism and racism.

In 2006, while being arrested for drink-driving, Gibson told his arresting officer (who was, unbeknownst to him, Jewish), "Fucking Jews... the Jews are responsible for all the wars in the world. Are you a Jew?"

Gibson was given a driving ban and fine, and ordered to enrol on a First Offenders' Programme. The fallout from the highly publicised events resulted in Gibson being more or less frozen out of Hollywood for the best part of a decade.

However, Hacksaw Ridge saw him return to the fold. As well as his own directing nomination, the film was nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing and Best Film Editing and performed well at the box office.

Whether The Destroyer proves to be a permanent Hollywood 'homecoming' for Gibson remains to be seen, though he is also rumoued to be up for a role in The Six Billion Dollar Man with Mark Walhberg.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Ronan O'Shea

Ronan J O'Shea is a freelance journalist from London who has written for titles including LADbible, Headspace, The Independent, National Geographic Traveller and New York Post. Contact him at [email protected]

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