Appearing in films like The Patriot and Braveheart has taken its toll on Mel Gibson. "You get hurt all the time. All you gotta do is just like eight takes of running down a hill and you twist an ankle," the action pic veteran tells TV Guide Online. "I got a chiropractor to come along to the [Patriot] shoot, because they can actually stick you back together within 15 minutes. He used to come every other week, from Los Angeles to South Carolina ? spend a week and work on the entire crew. All the stunt guys were like, 'Oh, fix my disc.' He's putting their discs back in. The guy's amazing."

Gibson let director Roland Emmerich do his own thing, too. The Australian actor won an Oscar directing Braveheart but wasn't even tempted to share some of his own ideas. "I just kept my trap shut," Gibson says. "Not that I felt like opening it, I was just watching. He's really focused: Nine packs of cigarettes a day, he doesn't eat. After the nuclear holocaust, Roland Emmerich will still be around."

Gibson reveals that he's "dying to direct again," but hasn't found the right script yet. "All I need is something to do, 'cause you don't spend two or three years on something that doesn't mean something to you. You can't just grab the nearest piece of crap and do it."

For now, Gibson is juggling more acting offers than he can handle. "There are four or five things that I'm really excited about, but it would be imprudent of me to mention [them]. Industrial espionage is rife. You can't do everything, and you do see really good things. There are always fingerprints on every script. And there's always someone [who's] seen it before you have."

Was it hard for Gibson to pass on starring roles in The Perfect Storm and Gladiator? Both films had "great scripts [and] really good stories. And I'd do 'em in a heart beat," he admits, "but I read [The Patriot] at the same time and you can't do everything at the same time. And those guys, who did 'em, George [Clooney] and Russell [Crowe], they were really good. I don't care who had their paws on this last, it's not about that."

While Gibson hasn't given up on big-budget blockbusters, he's not a fan of mindless action films without a touch of humanity. "They're very boring, you don't care," he says. "You don't care how many butts Steve Seagal kicks. It's like there's no emotional involvement."