Twenty years ago, Braveheart debuted in theaters to critical raves. The epic movie, directed by and starring Mel Gibson and written by Randall Wallace, went on to win five Oscars, including Best Picture. Tuesday marks the street date for Wallace’s book Living The Braveheart Life: Finding The Courage To Follow Your Heart. The making of the epic story about love and honor is a great Hollywood story, but this book is not a Hollywood tome. In the book from publisher W/Thomas Nelson, the filmmaker delves into why he wrote the script and how the film has affected his life.
“Some believe that movies like Braveheart can’t be made anymore because the business as a whole believes that the audience wants fantasy heroes not real heroes. But I believe that love, courage, faith and hope are the real superpowers,” said the filmmaker, who was responsible for adapting and directing one of the most profitable films of last year, Heaven Is For Real. He just co-scripted Hacksaw Ridge which Gibson is directing.
While on a trip in Scotland, searching for his own family history, Wallace stumbled upon a statue of William Wallace. That moment never left him, and he began researching the loyal Scotsman. “There is a decision in your life that shapes your life because of what you decided. I call it your ‘Braveheart Moment.'”
What is Wallace’s ‘Braveheart’ moment?
“I had reached a point where I was successful in television working for Steve Cannell. Then there was a writers strike — it lasted eight months — and when we came back from it, the entire business had changed. My finances were upside down. I thought, ‘I have a chance to write one more thing before I have to quit and find other work to feed my family.’ So I got down on my knees and prayed to write something that God had created me to do, not what I thought Hollywood wanted.
“I got up and started writing a script called Love And Honor, and that led me directly to Braveheart. I had seen that statue 10 years before and had remembered it every day. I didn’t feel then like I had the tools to write the story. But after working with Steve, I knew that I could do it. That was my ‘Braveheart moment.’ ” The filmmaker has also started a website where people can upload videos talking about their own Braveheart moments; at livingthebraveheartlife.com.
Here’s an excerpt from the book, which hits bookstores September 8:
Just as every Warrior has a Sword, every Warrior has a wound. It may be open, still bleeding beneath his armor, or it may have closed and scarred over — but he remembers it, and it shapes him.
When I was eleven years old, my Father — brilliant, charismatic, loved by all, and loving everyone he knew — began to discover his own great wound. The wound that staggered him, and then brought him to his knees, was mysterious to all of us who loved him, perhaps even to my Father himself. It was as if the champion who led us was suddenly pierced by an archer that none of us, not even he, could see. A man I knew to be fearless and resilient and endlessly optimistic became utterly broken. He lost all confidence in himself. He sat and trembled, and wept. He became unable to make a decision or do anything that might help him rise from the pit of despair he had fallen into.
That was a half century ago, and it is only now, as I have written the last paragraph, that I realize my Father’s Sword was his confidence; that was the weapon he had used all his life to battle a world that was hostile to him. Without his weapon he was lost and terrified.
And while it was a half century ago, I also realize now that his wound became my wound too. His world fell apart, and so did mine, and the world of our whole family.
But I have come to realize, over my years of struggling and striving to live a Braveheart Life, that our wounds are just as important as our weapons. I suspect we experience our wounds before we choose our weapons, the ones we hope will protect us from further hurt. Yet sometimes even our own weapons cut us.
My Father’s wounds, and mine, became just as vital to the creation of Braveheart, the story, as they have been to a Braveheart Life.
I believe that if you did not have a wound, you would not be reading these pages. By the time you are finished reading them, I hope what I have just written makes sense to you.
Taken from Living The Braveheart Life by Randall Wallace. Copyright © 2015 by Randall Wallace. Used by permission of W Publishing Group, an imprint of Thomas Nelson. Click here for more info.