EXCLUSIVE: Mel Gibson is in talks to take on directing duties on Hacksaw Ridge, based on the true story of Desmond T Doss, the first conscientious objector in U.S. history to win the Congressional Medal of Honor. Andrew Garfield is also in discussions to play the lead role.

Image (3) garfield__131106165719.jpg for post 628483Doss was a U.S. Army medic who served in World War II during the Battle of Okinawa and refused to kill. President Truman awarded him the Medal of Honor for saving so many lives.

This is not a done deal yet, and Deadline understands that talks are moving forward delicately and slowly. If Gibson does step back into the director’s chair, the subject matter would seem to suit his tastes to a tee. Throughout his career in front of and behind the camera, Gibson has shown an abiding fascination with protagonists prepared to suffer for their principles but ultimately prevailing over hardship.

Hacksaw Ridge, if it happens, would seem to offer a return to the type of emotional terrain Gibson explored to such success in previous directorial efforts Braveheart and Passion Of The Christ. The project would reunite him with Braveheart scribe Randall Wallace, who co-wrote the script with Robert Schenkkan and had been attached to direct.

2006’s Apocalypto was the last film Gibson directed.

The project is being led by producers Bill Mechanic (Coraline) through his Pandemonium banner and  David Permut (Face Off), through Permut Presentations. Terry Benedict (The Death Of Reasonable Doubt) and Steve Longi (Youth In Revolt) are co-producers. Gregory Crosby is an associate producer. Walden Media has also been developing the project.

Gibson most recently starred in Expendables 3 and is in post on Jean-Francois Richet’s Blood Father, in which he plays an ex-con reunited with his 16-year-old daughter who must protect her from drug dealers trying to kill her.