Mel Gibson: Going sober helped me refocus my life

Hollywood star Mel Gibson says giving up alcohol has helped him "refocus" his life.

The Oscar-winning actor-director claims to have been sober for 10 years since his controversial anti-Semitic rant following a drink-driving arrest in 2006.

At the Los Angeles premiere of his new film, Hacksaw Ridge, Mel said: "Sobriety helps you refocus everything. Believe me it doesn't do any good to have a snort."

A picture of Mel Gibson at an event
Mel Gibson (Chris Pizzello/AP)

Mel, 60, has returned to directing for the first time in a decade with Hacksaw Ridge, which has been widely tipped by critics as a potential Oscar contender.

The movie is based on the true story of Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector to receive America's Medal of Honour after saving the lives of 75 men on a Second World War battlefield without carrying a gun.

Sporting a large grey beard for his upcoming film The Professor And The Madman, Gibson said he was left in tears after reading the Hacksaw Ridge script.

Mel Gibson's mugshot from 2006
Mel was arrested for drink driving in LA in 2006 and launched an anti-Semitic rant at the officer (AP)

"This is such an inspiring story of a guy who really existed," the Braveheart star said.

"I'm on page 54 reading this script and I'm crying all over the pages.

"This really hit me in the heart and I think this is a story worth telling."

Mel and Rosalind in Cannes in May (Joel Ryan/AP/Press Association Images)
Mel and girlfriend Rosalind Ross in Cannes in May (Joel Ryan/AP/PA)

British actor Andrew Garfield, who plays the lead role in Hacksaw Ridge, said he also wept after reading Desmond Doss's story.

"I read the script and I cried on page five and cried from then on," he said.

"He was a man who is a true inspiration and a man that has the potential to be a true inspiration to other people all over the world if we get this story out."

Andrew praised Mel as "an incredible leader" during filming.

"There's no hierarchy on set," the former Spider-Man star said. "He treats everyone as an equal and he is treated as an equal therefore."

Vince Vaughn, who also stars in Hacksaw Ridge, heaped praised on Mel, saying: "I just think he's a tremendous film-maker. I loved working with him."

Hacksaw Ridge is due out in UK cinemas next year.

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