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Teresa Palmer inspired by nana for Hacksaw

AAP logoAAP 21/10/2016 Danielle McGrane

Teresa Palmer has revealed her grandmother did morse code during WWII and inspired her character, Dorothy Schutte, in Hacksaw Ridge.

The Australian actress plays the fiancee of Desmond Doss, the first conscientious objector in WWII to be awarded the medal of honour.

Doss' heroic story in which he saved 75 soldiers forms the basis of the film, directed by Mel Gibson, but Palmer looked to her own family for inspiration for her character.

"She (Dorothy) reminds me so much of my own nan," Palmer told AAP.

"She was such a strong woman. She raised eight children and was the matriarch of the family."

Palmer's grandmother was based in the UK during the war and had a very specific role to play.

"She did morse code in WWII and she was so dedicated to her job, she loved it so much," she said.

"Her husband was a firefighter in the war and so I drew upon my own nana's experiences and injected that into the character."

Palmer's grandmother is no longer alive, but when the actress took on this role everything her grandmother had told her about her experiences came back to her.

"She had told me these stories over years and years and when this came up I went instantly back and remembered her telling these very vivid stories, and what it was like to be in that time and to not know if your husband was going to come home or not," she said.

Palmer also researched Dorothy Schutte's real life with her husband Desmond Doss to help her get into the character.

"I definitely researched a lot of her audio tapes," she said.

"I saw some footage of the two of them together and I also looked at photographs and actually the photographs told me so much.

"She had a spunkiness to her and sassiness and she was very confident, and I wanted to inject that into her because that's truly, authentically who she is, so I wanted to be as lifelike as possible."

* Hacksaw Ridge opens in Australian cinemas on November 3

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