Oscar-winning director Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu has defended his shoot for harrowing new film The Revenant.
Whistleblowers have told The Hollywood Reporter that the experience of making the western was "a living hell", with actors and crew subjected to freezing temperatures and brutal conditions.
The Revenant centres on a famed incident in the life of frontiersman Hugh Glass, who was mauled by a grizzly bear during a fur-trapping expedition in 1823.
In Inarritu’s version, Leonardo DiCaprio’s Glass is robbed by his companions and left for dead. But he survives and sets out to wreak revenge on the men who betrayed him.
Crew members say the production suffered extensive delays due to cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki’s determination to shoot only in natural light, and the director’s preference for filming in chronological sequence.
“I have nothing to hide,” the film-maker told The Hollywood Reporter. “There were problems, but none of them made me ashamed.”
He also denied suggestions that an actor who was dragged naked along the ground in one action scene had suffered pain, saying: “I asked him several times, ‘Are you fine?’ I was super-considerate because he was a nice, 22-year-old guy.” Inárritu said each time he asked, the actor replied that he was prepared to do another take.
However, the director did admit that conditions became brutal after temperatures in Canada unexpectedly dropped to -25C. “Everybody was frozen, the equipment was breaking; to get the camera from one place to another was a nightmare.”