During our recent webcam chat (watch above), “Hacksaw Ridge” production designer Barry Robison credits director Mel Gibson‘s “very strong point of view” with enabling him to “bring something new to the genre” of World War II films. This Lionsgate release tells the true story of Army Medic Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield), who served during the Battle of Okinawa while refusing to carry a weapon. He later became the first Conscientious Objector in history to be rewarded the Medal of Honor for his acts of bravery.
In addition to his extensive research, Robison tried to reflect Doss’s state of mind in his designs. “I’m a student of psychology,” he explains. “Whenever I can use a bit of Jungian psychology, I will bring that, and bring not only metaphors but symbolism, and try to weave it through.” This approach begins with the films unique protagonist. “We’ve seen a lot of war movies, but we’ve never seen a war movie about a pacifist who refuses to carry a weapon into battle,” he adds. “To think that he was a living, breathing human being (is) extraordinary.”
Ultimately, Robison believes the success or failure of his work, “depends on who is sitting in the director’s chair.” He felt lucky to have the Academy Award-winning “Braveheart” (1995) helmer because, “he understood what I was trying to go for, in trying to push the movie in a certain direction without being heavy-handed.”
Robison previously competed at the Art Directors Guild for his work on “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader” (2010) and at the Daytime Emmys for “One Life to Live” (1985). Will an Oscar nomination be next? Check out our full interview above for more about “Hacksaw Ridge.”
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