Film crew rep claims executives on Alejandro González Iñárritu’s latest film, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, ignored multiple warnings about safety concerns
Monday 27 July 2015 13.36 BST
How far is too far in pursuit of that perfect shot? Filming during Alejandro González Iñárritu’s latest offering, The Revenant, has been described as “a living hell” according to some cast and crew, a fact the director does not dispute.
While conditions were undeniably brutal, now Damian Petti, president of film crew union body IATSE Local 212, suggests that cast and crew may have been in real danger. He told the Hollywood Reporter that production executives ignored multiple warnings about safety concerns.
The Revenant sees Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Hugh Glass betrayed by his companions during a fur trapping expedition in 1823. CGI was out of the question as “the film would be a piece of shit”, according to its director, and so The Revenant was shot in harsh conditions in the Canadian winter, a far cry from a soundstage in Los Angeles.
Petti criticised what he calls an “it’s all worth it because the picture looks really good” attitude stating: “That’s a very dangerous road for any of us to be on and to buy into.
“In terms of our industry, it’s important that people differentiate between getting an amazing movie at all costs, and safety.”
The Revenant producer New Regency deny these allegations, insisting that on-set safety was duly followed throughout the shoot: “While filming in challenging conditions, safety was not compromised.”
Petti is acting as a voice for crew members he feels were “not … taken seriously” and who fear the consequences of speaking out. Petti claims that around 15 to 20 crew members quit or were fired during production, some of whom “raised safety issues”.
New Regency, in its defence, say it hired specialists to ensure overall safety while shooting in harsh conditions: “We hired experts who worked with us in swift-water, mountain-climbing, bear behaviour, helicopter operations and cold-weather safety to complement the US production management team.”
But Petti insists that a host of safety concerns abound in “extreme conditions” including “cold weather, remote locations, slippery ground, cold water and communications challenges”. Petti says that it’s hard to explain to an LA executive that “all of these things are adding up to the outer edge of safety”.
Read more and check out pictures: theguardian.com