Mel Gibson received the Academy Award for both Best Picture and Best Director for his film, Braveheart. Gibson played Sir William Wallace in this epic historical film, which offers a fictionalized take on the First War of Scottish Independence. The movie was praised for its great battle sequences, inspirational dialogues, and portrayal of medieval Scotland.
Initially set to assume the role of director only, Mel Gibson later decided to take on the lead role as well. Other actors, including Brad Pitt and Jason Patric, were considered for the role. The film went through several challenges during production but turned out to be a cinematic gem.
Mel Gibson Was Almost Killed During A Scene In Braveheart
Mel Gibson filmed intense battle scenes for Braveheart, some of which had to be removed from the theatrical cut of the movie. Gibson, who spearheaded the production under his Icon Productions in collaboration with The Ladd Company, quickly ran out of budget. Paramount Pictures and 20th Century Fox stepped in to provide financial support in exchange for distribution rights.
During an interview with Empire, the Mad Max actor recalled some of the interesting incidents from the movie set. In one of the scenes involving a horse, the Lethal Weapon actor revealed that he was rescued by his stunt double from being trampled by the horse. Gibson told Empire magazine (via Irish Independent):
“There was a horse that nearly killed me. He had a good trick where he did this whole rear-up thing, but he’d also fall backwards, which is a problem if you’ve fallen off first and you’re behind him. He did that to me. My stunt double ran in and pulled me out of the way just as the horse fell.”
Interestingly, most of the horses used in the battle scenes were mechanical fake ones. However, Gibson wanted to include some real horses for added realism. Moreover, the background extras in the battle scenes were members of the Irish Reserve Army, who played both the English and Scottish soldiers.
Despite Challenges, Injuries on Mel Gibson’s Movie Set Remained Limited
Mel Gibson shared that handling the real horses proved to be a challenge on set. The Signs actor disclosed that his horse would behave erratically, and whenever he used to shout his dialogues in the battle scene, his horse would bolt away. The Patriot actor even faced an inquiry from the Irish Prevention of Animal Cruelty organization for alleged mistreatment of horses. However, fortunately (or unfortunately), the injuries in the set were confined to “a broken ankle and a hangnail and a busted nose”, according to Gibson.
The production was hell for The Passion of the Christ director, who spent 14 hours a day on set continuously for 105 days. However, the Maverick actor’s efforts paid off handsomely, as the movie went on to gross $213.2 million at the box office. The film was initially not on the radar for the Oscars, with the film missing out on the SAG Awards list. However, it emerged victorious over strong contenders like Sense and Sensibility and The Usual Suspects.
However, the film received criticism for the historical accuracy of the events. Gibson clarified it was a fictionalized version of events which also included some storytelling elements from writer Randall Wallace.
Braveheart is available for rent on AppleTV+.
Source: Irish Independent