At Thailand’s Maya Bay, the Leonardo DiCaprio movie is still causing controversy.
The company behind Leonardo DiCaprio’s backpacker thriller “The Beach” is living large on the beach after a Thai court ordered 20th Century Studios to pay damages for damaging the location while filming the movie.
Following the huge success of Titanic, Leonardo DiCaprio featured as Richard, an American traveler looking for adventure in Thailand but finding that paradise is far from ideal, in the film adaptation of Alex Garland’s book.
Maya Bay on the Thai island of Phi Phi Lay served as the location for filming by the then-studio 20th Century Fox. Numerous coconut trees were infamously planted by the team to give the setting a more “tropical” feel and claims of environmental devastation began to circulate even before the Danny Boyle film was finished.
The ecosystem was severely harmed by the removal of vegetation from nearby sand dunes because those plants’ roots helped hold the sand in place on the 250-meter-long beach. The sand started to disintegrate into the water as soon as the film crew tore them out.
At the time, Maya Bay was described by locals as a “forlorn sight of unattractive bamboo fences and decaying native vegetation” by The Guardian.
In order to repair the site, Thailand’s Supreme Court has now mandated that 20th Century Studios pay a fee of 10 million Thai Baht (£235,826).
Speaking in 1999 while the film was shooting, DiCaprio defended the activities of the crew, saying, “From what I can tell, everything is fine.” Nothing that had been damaged in any way had been visible to me. I’ve observed Fox’s great attention to detail and their regard for the island, the man remarked. “I think of myself as being an environmentalist. I think the island will be in better shape when we depart than when we arrived.
After being closed to visitors for three years so that necessary repair work could be done, Maya Bay reopened to visitors in January 2022. The picture-perfect place was closed to visitors once more in August, and it won’t likely return until October at the earliest.
It is anticipated that previously imposed protocols would be reinstated when Maya Bay reopens. These included restrictions on using boats, going swimming, and having visitors stay for no more than an hour.