'Maze Runner' cast did not steal Native American items, studio says
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The cast and crew of "Maze Runner" did not remove artifacts from a New Mexico ranch during filming, 20th Century Fox said on Thursday, after Native American advocates voiced concerns over an actor's light-hearted comment about pilfering historic items.
The film studio said it had conducted an investigation after actor Dylan O'Brien, 24, made offhand comments in an interview that he had fallen ill during filming of "The Scorch Trials," the second film in the "Maze Runner" franchise.
He implied that a Native American curse had taken revenge on cast members who took objects from the grounds of the historical filming location.
"Twentieth Century Fox and the entire Scorch Trials production have deep respect for the local Native American culture and environment and are sorry that any actions or statements by people involved in the production led to any suggestion that our intentions were anything but deferential or that anything was taken from the area," the studio said in a statement.
A publicist for O'Brien did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
O'Brien's remark prompted an online petition, with more than 54,000 people calling for the return of any stolen objects from the ranch where the film was shot last year.
The site in question is the 22,000-acre Diamond Tail Ranch in the high desert between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
It is not home to any known Indian burial grounds, said property manager Roch Hart, who was unable to detect anything missing from the site's trove of items, including pottery shards and chippings of rock tools. Hart estimated the items dated from 800 A.D. to 1700.
(Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy and Richard Chang)
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