Mel Gibson talked about the decades-long effort to bring to the screen his stirring and inspirational war film Hacksaw Ridge when he came to Deadline’s big all-day event, The Contenders Presented By Deadline, earlier this month at the DGA Theatre.

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Gibson recounted that the film’s subject, World War II hero Desmond Doss — the first conscientious objector to win the Medal Of Honor — had routinely turned down Hollywood overtures to do his story, but finally, three quarters of a century later, it is being told. The producer-director also brought along his sound mixer Kevin O’Connell, who has been nominated for an Oscar some 20 times but is yet to win. That might change this time, as he explained the intricacies of the sound work in differentiating between 300 different explosions in the harrowing battle sequences.

The sixth annual The Contenders drew a packed house of Academy and key guild voters November 5 to hear behind-the-scenes stories of the making of some of this year’s top contenders.

Check out Deadline Co-Editor-In-Chief Mike Fleming Jr’s conversation with the pair above.