Arctic director really impressed with leading man Mads Mikkelsen's toughness

The filmmaker had to cut a scene, in which the star ate raw fish guts.

First-time director Joe Penna has heaped praise on his Arctic leading man Mads Mikkelsen for braving the freezing conditions on set in Iceland.

The great Dane suffered more than most of the cast and crew as temperatures plummeted on set, but he was happy to brave the elements and even eat raw fish.

"We all wore goggles to protect our eyes but Mads, the poor guy, couldn't wear goggles because we're paying him for his face," the filmmaker tells WENN. "We tried a version of clear goggles but it was such a hindrance to see him emote we ended up not using them."

"We had medics telling us to keep moving and constantly refreshing our handwarmers. We'd be stuffing them into our boots. The Icelanders had their gear down... We had to walk two hours a day and in each other's footsteps so we wouldn't have to remove tracks later on in the effects. Mads didn't have special boots. I think, with his Scandanavian blood, he didn't need as much special gear as I did."

Penna admits he dreaded having to tell his leading man that he was cutting his fish guts-eating scene.

"He really ate it and there's even a scene where I spoke to an Arctic survivalist who told me to eat the guts, so we had Mads eating the guts," the director explains. "It was just slowing down the film, so it was a difficult phone call to let him know the guts scene didn't make it! But he was amazing.

"Mads ended up losing 20 pounds during our 19-day shoot and that was something that was scary. He was in every frame of the film and you're trudging through snow constantly, which was incredibly difficult. We'd all skip lunch and kind of nap in our chairs or huddle together. We'd rather rest than eat. There was so much huddling behind the scenes! We got really acquainted with each other really quickly in order to survive the shoot."

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