Leonardo DiCaprio has easily turned into Hollywood’s most talented actor, and with Oscar voting underway since yesterday, (Dec. 30, 2015), things are finally lining up for the handsome leading man. You’d think by now DiCaprio might have helmed a short film, or perhaps attached his name to a feature that he really wanted to helm for himself, but nothing. And the same goes for Tom Hardy. So when I sat down with the gifted actors to talk about their incredible work in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “The Revenant,” I decided to start the interview off by asking if either of them have plans to direct. While I expected a generic answer like “when I find the right project,” I was surprised to hear DiCaprio say “I don’t know if I could do it.”
When asked about the famous bear attack scene, whether it’s mainly CGI or if it was done mostly with a real bear, Leo said, “Well, I’m not going to give any specifics on how we did it — you’ll figure it out on your own. But I will tell you it involved cables, it involved me flying around the forest, and it involved a tremendous amount of rehearsal. And it was pretty agonizing to do. [Those scenes] — amongst many other sequences — were some of the more difficult things I’ve ever had to do in my entire career. But the end result is going to be one of the most immersive experiences audiences will ever have with what it would be like to come face-to-face with an animal of that magnitude that is incredibly primal. It is absolutely startling and shocking, and it is the closest thing to documentary filmmaking — but in a completely stylized way that a lot of people never experienced.”
He admits to spending freezing days and nights for months in the Canadian wilderness and also in Argentina, so, what was the experience like? “The truth is that I knew what I was getting into. This was a film that had been floating around for quite some time, but nobody was crazy enough to really take this on, simply because of the logistics of where we needed to shoot and the amount of work and rehearsal that would have to be done to achieve Alejandro and [cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki] vision. They’re very specific about their shots and what they want to achieve, and that — compounded with the fact that we were in an all-natural environment, succumbing to whatever nature gave us — was something that became more of a profoundly intense chapter of our lives than we ever thought it was going to be.
“It’s epic poetry, an existential journey through nature, and this man finding a will to live against all odds. Yet he changes, nature changes him and I think those elements changed him while we were doing the movie.”
Not confirming well known reports of people bein forced to leave the production because it was so difficult and tough, Leo admits it was very strenuous and that he felt empowered by his director and the crack crew. “Look, what we were trying to pull off was so incredibly ambitious, and [Alejandro] is vigilant and incredibly specific about what he wants up on screen, and he won’t accept anything less. So along the way, if we had departments that didn’t agree or departments that didn’t work correctly with the situation … I wasn’t privy to exactly what went on. But to me, most of the people were there working incredibly hard, and they should be given due credit for the effort they gave this movie. Because everyone I saw was giving their heart and soul to pursuing his vision,” Leo concluded.
Official trailer (below):
Leo even slept inside a dead animal carcass he told ET (below):
“The Revenant” is now playing in limited release and will expand nationwide starting January 8th. The Revenant also stars Domnhall Gleeson, Will Poulter and Forrest Goodluck.