Harris tells of sickness in Sahara


Ed Harris told how he fell ill while filming The Way Back in the Sahara

Ed Harris has revealed how he suffered for his art when he fell ill during the filming of his new movie, The Way Back.

Real life imitated art as the cast, including Jim Sturgess, were hit by a bout of food poisoning in the Sahara desert as they battled to complete Peter Weir’s poignant drama about a group of prisoners’ gruelling trek to India after they escape from a Siberian gulag during the Second World War.

The 60-year-old Hollywoood actor, who plays American inmate Mr Smith, said at the film’s UK premiere at London’s Washington Mayfair Hotel: “My worst day was when I was sick – Jim Sturgess and I are dragging this sled up the biggest sand dune of the whole film and I couldn’t even stand up, I was so weak.”

He added: “I hadn’t been keeping anything in and Peter was kind enough to let me go take a little break at some point that day for a couple of hours because I couldn’t stand up. We were dragging this thing up that hill and I was thinking, ‘Just say cut, man’.”

Jim, 29, played the group’s unofficial leader Janusz and admitted: “We endured some pretty tough terrain and elements. There was never an easy day.

“But being stuck out in the middle of the Sahara desert with a bad stomach and needing the toilet every five minutes was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life.”

Meanwhile for Colin Farrell, playing tough Russian inmate Valka, eating maggots wasn’t his most desirable meal. “It’s not something I’d be ordering at my nearest deli. But it was fun,” he said.

The Way Back, inspired by real events, opens in cinemas on Boxing Day.

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