I almost got killed filming 'Braveheart', says Gibson
MEL Gibson has revealed he was almost killed while shooting the multi-Oscar winning epic Braveheart in Ireland.
The Hollywood star, who directed and starred as 13th Century Scottish warrior William Wallace in the film, said he came close to being crushed to death by a horse while filming a savage battle sequence.
The major battle scenes of the hit 1995 historical drama were shot in Ireland – mainly counties Kildare, Meath and Wicklow – using members of the Irish Army Reserve as extras.
And speaking on the 20th anniversary of the filming of the movie, which went on to land five Oscars after its release the following year, Gibson, 58, recalled how reality almost imitated art during shooting when he nearly became a real-life war casualty.
He said: "There was a horse that nearly killed me. He had a good trick where he did this whole rear-up thing, but he'd also fall backwards, which is a problem if you've fallen off first and you're behind him.
"He did that to me. My stunt double ran in and pulled me out of the way just as the horse fell."
However, despite the many near-misses that took place during the filming of bloody battle scenes, Gibson said that the sum total of injuries incurred by the cast included "a broken ankle and a hangnail and a busted nose".
In an interview with Empire magazine, he said: "The thing I wanted out of the battle sequences was clarity.
"I've seen a lot of these battle movies and they just turn into mush.
"I broke it down to archers and horses and hand-to-hand and who had the high ground and the low ground, everybody was clearly delineated, even though it was often the same bunch of people playing different parts.
"We had the guys from the Irish Army, and one day they were all dressed like Scots and the next day they'd be English. I think there's a scene where somebody actually kills himself."
And Gibson stressed he makes no apologies for the movie's much-panned rewriting of history.
He added: "There's scant historical record. Blind Harry [15th-Century author of epic poem 'The Wallace'] was fanciful and kicked it up to the mythic level, but if you're looking for a complete compendium of the real life of William Wallace, you're not going to find one."