Here’s how Mel Gibson almost died on the set of “Braveheart”

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Controversial actor Mel Gibson nearly died a gruesome death while filming Brave Heart. But luckily it was only his character, William Wallace, who was hanged, drawn and quartered.

The historic biopic on the Scottish Warrior was Gibson’s second directorial effort, after The Faceless Man, which cracked. But Brave Heart turned out to be one of the biggest projects Gibson had ever been involved in and one of the most successful at the box office. It illustrated how he would continue in the director’s chair for years to come.

Gibson may have done questionable things in his life so far, but Brave Heart is not one of them. He practically gave his life to succeed, just as Wallace gave his life to liberate Scotland.

It’s for nothing if you don’t have … a budget

Gibson almost stopped directing the film. When he finally decided to take it on, he wanted Brad Pitt to play Wallace first because he felt too old for the role. However, no one could have played Wallace the same way he did, even though the directing and directing took their toll.

Funding for the project was difficult, but Gibson got the film off the ground. Filming began on location in Scotland in 1994, and soon the English were literally at the throat of the Scots. But Gibson had another battle to fight. The budget.

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To keep them from going over budget, Gibson moved filming to Ireland (or as Wallace’s man Stephen would say, “My Island!”) So they could film the big battle scenes, get a shot. tax relief and “a government agreement to use 1,800 members of the Irish Defense Forces”, who found themselves on both sides of the battlefield.

The battle scenes were the most important thing in the film; without them Gibson would not have been able to tell the story of the warrior. This is a country fighting for independence and a man’s revenge after all. There had to be a “brutal medieval war”.

“It was 3,500 people on set, nine cameras and me on a four-wheeled motorcycle in a suit with a blue face (makeup), checking the camera positions because I only had two monitors,” Gibson told USA Today. “It was fun.”

Gibson’s trusty steed failed him

To keep filming costs down a bit, Gibson made sure his scenes had as few takes as possible. Maybe he shouldn’t have been in such a rush.

While they were filming in Ireland, in Kildare, Meath and Wicklow counties, Gibson was nearly run over to death by a horse while filming one of the intense battle scenes.

According to the Independent, Gibson said, “There was a horse that almost killed me. He had a good ride where he did all that back stuff, but he was also falling backwards, which is a problem though. you fell go first and you’re behind him. He did this to me. My stuntman ran in and pulled me out of the way just as the horse fell. “

It probably didn’t help every time Gibson shouted his lines, especially his most famous line from the movie, “They may take our lives, but they will never take our freedom!” his horse would run. It was difficult to shoot but it added intensity.

Related: Here’s How Mel Gibson Made A Comeback After Losing Over Half Of His Net Worth

Most of the horses in the movie weren’t even real. Gibson brought in mechanical horses which weighed 200 pounds and were powered by nitrogen cylinders, running them at 30 mph on 20-foot tracks.

Still, an animal welfare organization continued its investigation into the film because it believed the fake horses were real. After Gibson’s assistant showed them video footage proving they were mechanical, they were convinced otherwise.

In fact, it turned out to be a crucial thing for Gibson. He believed his mechanical horses looked so real that he said he would give $ 5 to anyone who could spot a mechanical horse in the movie. Some scenes show the mechanical horses, but at least they helped with the battle scenes. The Battle of Stirling took six weeks to film on its own, but the worst injury on set was a broken nose, “broken ankle and nail”.

Related: Braveheart At 25: Angus Macfadyen Takes Over As Robert In New Movie

Gibson said Empire, “What I wanted from the battle footage was clarity. I’ve seen a lot of these battle movies, and they just turn to mush. I’ve broken it down into archers and horses and melee and who had high ground and low ground; everyone was clearly demarcated, although they were often the same group of people playing different roles. “

While the film garnered 10 Oscar nominations, took home five including Best Picture and Best Director, and was a box office hit, grossing an estimated $ 213.2 million worldwide on a budget. of $ 70 million, the only thing critics struggled with were historical inaccuracies.

But Gibson knew his movie was largely fictional and didn’t pretend otherwise. “I’m in the movie business. I’m not an (expletive) historian,” he said.

Gibson later said, “Some people said that by telling the story, we ruined the story. I don’t mind because what I’m giving you is a cinematic experience, and I think the movies are. there first to entertain, then to teach, then to inspire. There were probably historical inaccuracies – quite a few. Gibson and screenwriter Randall Wallace, however, had to romanticize the movie a bit and make it “cinematically acceptable.”

Manufacturing Brave Heart could have killed Gibson in other ways. In addition to being nearly crushed to death, Gibson’s body felt the physical effects of being there for 105 consecutive days. Gibson said Brave Heart was more physically demanding than doing three Deadly weapon cinema. Maybe that’s what helped Gibson play Wallace. Playing a man fighting for his country was easy when Gibson was going through a similar battle to get Brave Heart made.

Next: Mel Gibson’s Many Restraining Orders, Explained

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