I'd love to be able to confirm the speculation, as reported by Jack Mathews, that I really directed "Dances With Wolves," but I just can't ("You Heard It Here First," March 24).
I was on location with "Dances" for a few weeks. Kevin Costner was there for several grueling months. I shot second-unit material for a couple of different sequences in the picture. So did other people. I also played a lot of cards.
I would imagine that other Oscar-nominated films this year contain second-unit material shot by someone other than the harried director. A number of sequences in the film I just directed ("Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves") contain such footage, including some done by the star, Costner.
The demands of large-scale film production make second-unit shooting an unfortunate necessity, particularly with regard to action sequences. That does not, however, necessarily mean the director's conception is compromised.
My contribution to "Dances With Wolves" was minimal at best. The finished picture as you see it exists solely because of the vision and perseverance of the man who willed it onto film--Kevin Costner.
KEVIN REYNOLDS, Burbank