EXCLUSIVE: In arguably the plum US title of the EFM, Mel Gibson is returning behind the camera for the first time in nearly a decade to direct Andrew Garfield in $40-50m true-life epic Hacksaw Ridge.

According to buyers IM Global will kick off pre-sales in Berlin next week for Bill Mechanic’s Pandemonium Films and Brian Oliver’s Cross Creek Pictures in anticipation of a production start later this year.

Cross Creek is financing Hacksaw Ridge, which recounts the extraordinary story of Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector in US military history to be awarded the Congressional Medal Of Honor.

Doss, a Seventh-day Adventist, was drafted into the US Army in 1942 but refused to fight because of his beliefs.

He became a medic and saved lives in the Pacific. After the Second World War he received the accolade from President Harry Truman.

Doss’ story became the subject of a documentary called The Conscientious Objector but until now no fictionalised version of his life has reached the big screen.

Gibson last directed Apocalypto, the Mayan adventure that opened in 2006. He starred in Expendables 3 last year and stars in upcoming action-thriller Blood Father.

Garfield will star in Martin Scorsese’s Japan-set historical epic Silence, which IM Global also sells internationally.