You only inspire when you are inspired.
Braveheart was my first script that became a movie. The first scene of Braveheart that I saw was the one of the first great battle, in which the English were defeated for the first time. Two thousand of men were playing with their rubber weapon but when Mel Gibson arrived the mood immediately changed. Gibson started his speech and a boy was supposed to interrupt him saying that they're not going to fight but to leave...but what actually happened was that two thousands of men screamed "Yes, we are going to fight!".
When I was a young screenwriter and I had to support my family trying to make the job that I wanted to do, I prayed: "If I had to go down, let me go down fighting for the story I want to tell, not worshipping the false idols of Hollywood".
Writing is an act of faith. My first choice was to write songs, but I failed: anyway God's plans were better than mine. I believe that the despair that I felt when I was younger (and that sometimes feel also now) was the hand of God. So when you feel grief or fear don't believe you're on the wrong way.
When we tell a story we have to tell it in a fresh way, in a way that can surprise. Surprise is what gets audience’s attention.
In Hollywood I was crashed sometimes by the fear that I would never make enough money. With Braveheart my life changed completely but at that moment they wanted another Braveheart, they wanted prevent me to grow up.
I found being successful makes me more isolated than I never was, because when I was struggling I shared the struggle with other friends, but with the success I was the outsider. To survive success is a greater challenge than to survive failure.
Before the success I got up at 4:30 a.m., because I was doing other jobs and I wanted to give the first and the best time of the day to my story.
The first draft of Braveheart that I showed to a studio was my twelfth. Do you think that speak to the world should be easy?
Writing and directing are both storytelling. The difference is that writing is a solitary profession, while directing is all about working with other people.
The magic of working with actors is that they give you what you expected (you've chosen them for this reason), but if they are great actors they also bring you surprises. And the music is the same thing, just with different language.
I'm often criticized because of the historical changes and unaccuracies in my movies. But a film is an impressionistic work of art. Don't let the facts win over the truth.
The most important thing is to be captivating: people will never remember what you say, they will remember something of what you did, but they will always remember how you make them feel.
People say that I make war stories while I say that I make love stories, because my question is: what do you love enough to give your life for?
You must believe in yourself and keep writing: when you finish a story the best thing you can do is start another story.
From one draft to another the main changes are at the beginning. You have a child and an editor inside your head: the child plays, the editor corrects. But they cannot work together.
The best thing for a character to be alive is to change, even if he doesn’t want to. In Braveheart William Wallace does not want to fight. He wants to be in love. When he’s forced to fight, he finds out that he has to convince other people that it’s worth fighting. He doesn’t win in the end, but he inspires others to keep fighting.
Find a story that creates questions in you, that takes your breath away.