When a film shoots "on location," there is an added air of glitz and glamour. Thoughts of far-off exotic countries and stars getting pampered in fancy trailers come to mind.
That was not the case on the set of "The Way Back," however. Because the film is based on the real-life story of a group of inmates who escape the Siberian Gulag during World War II and must walk more than 4,000 miles to freedom, the actors were put through similar trials and tribulations (or as close as they could get to the real suffering, without endangering themselves) during production.
When MTV News caught up with Jim Sturgess ("21," "Across the Universe"), we asked him if he and his castmates (including Colin Farrell and Ed Harris) managed to pick up any survival tips throughout the process.
"Don't eat yellow snow," he joked. "No, there were loads. We were really lucky. We were able to be put in touch with a guy who had actually done the walk for real. A French expeditionist, a guy called Cyril Delafosse-Guiramand. He was an amazing guy. He basically read the book [on which the film is loosely based] 'The Long Walk,' and after reading that book decided he was going to take the trek from Siberia to India himself. He had his own food — he didn't just survive off the land — but he was just an amazing man to have around."
Before they started filming, Sturgess said the cast got together and learned a few basic survival skills, none of which he mastered.
"It was just building fires and how to find dry moss in snowy conditions and the best way to construct a fire, where to do it," Sturgess recalled. "We skinned rabbits, we did all kinds of crazy stuff like that, we felled trees, and he was teaching me lots of navigational techniques, how to navigate yourself north and south using shadows from sticks, from the sun rising. It was cool. We all enjoyed it."
Check out everything we've got on "The Way Back."
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