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Adrift stars battle ocean, hunger in Fiji

A trip to Fiji usually involves relaxing days poolside or by the ocean at a resort, delicious and plentiful meals and relaxed sightseeing tours.

Shailene Woodley and Sam Claflin, the stars of the new adventure-disaster film, Adrift, did not have that experience.

The Hollywood actors endured 14-hour shoot days for six tortuous weeks in the open ocean two hours off the coast of Fiji.

About 90 per cent of the film was shot on the ocean with filmmakers relying largely on natural light and battling whatever weather Mother Nature delivered.

There was seasickness.

There were no resort buffets.

Woodley and Claflin, to portray their marooned characters, starved themselves with diets restricted to broccoli, a can of salmon and two egg yolks.

Adrift is based on the true story of American woman Tami Oldham who embarks on an incredible fight for survival when a massive hurricane damages her yacht and leaves her stranded on the Pacific Ocean for 41 days.

Woodley plays Oldham and Claflin her boyfriend, Richard Sharp.

"We spent six weeks, 14 hours a day at least, on the water," said Adrift director Baltasar Kormakur, no stranger to making difficult films with Everest and The Deep on his credits.

"There's a real reason for it.

"First of all it gives you a real base of look and a real base of reality for the actors.

"It strips them down.

"You can't fake it on the water and when the ocean is throwing you around."

Claflin walked off the Tasmanian set of another film, The Nightingale, and flew to Fiji for Adrift.

Losing weight has been a regular requirement for the Englishman's roles, with Claflin required to do it for his roles in Me Before You and The Hunger Games.

"I was just over 15 stone (95kg) doing The Nightingale and by the end of Adrift I was under 12.5 stone (79kg)," he said.

Only Kormakur, an accomplished Icelandic sailor, and cinematographer Robert Richardson did not suffer from seasickness.

"With Sam, I will never forget," Woodley laughed.

"They yelled, 'We're rolling' and Sam leaned over, puked, came up, wiped his mouth, they yelled 'action' and he did the scene.

"They said 'cut', he leaned over again and puked."

* Adrift opens in Australia on Thursday, June 28.

© AAP 2018