While most people think of the holiday season as a time to get together with family, devoted movie fans know that Christmas Day is also often home to some of the best movies of the year, many of which will be up for Oscars during the awards season. This year, one of those potential awards season favorites is The Revenant, which opens in limited release on December 25, before expanding nationwide on January 8. Leonardo DiCaprio stars as fur trapper Hugh Glass, who finds himself injured and left for dead, as he tries to survive long enough to exact his revenge on a traitorous member of his group (Tom Hardy). During a new interview with Yahoo! Movies, Leonardo DiCaprio shed new light on the production, revealing he actually slept inside a dead animal carcass.
"I can name 30 or 40 sequences that were some of the most difficult things I've ever had to do. Whether it's going in and out of frozen rivers, or sleeping in animal carcasses, or what I ate on set. [I was] enduring freezing cold and possible hypothermia constantly. I certainly don't eat raw bison liver on a regular basis. When you see the movie, you'll see my reaction to it, because Alejandro kept it in. It says it all. It was an instinctive reaction."
When the second trailer was released last month, director Alejandro González Iñárritu, who is coming off his Best Picture win for Birdman, described his leading man as a, "brave, incredible actor." Parts of the shoot took place in the harsh Canadian wilderness, with the cast and crew enduring sub-zero temperatures throughout the production. One of the most memorable moments in the trailer involves Leonardo DiCaprio fighting off a massive bear. When asked if he actually took on the bear himself, or if it was a CGI animal, the actor wouldn't give any specifics, but he did describe that scene as "agonizing."
"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."
During principal photography, reports started to filter in from the set, with several crew members either leaving the production or getting fired by the director. Some of whom described the production as a "living hell," according to a July report from Yahoo! Movies. When asked about the difficult shoot, and whether or not he thought it was getting out of control, Leonardo DiCaprio had this to say.
"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."
The Revenant also stars Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson, Paul Anderson, Lukas Haas, Javier Botet, Kristoffer Joner and Brendan Fletcher. Are you looking forward to seeing Leonardo DiCaprio sleeping inside a dead animal carcass when The Revenant hits theaters on Christmas Day? Let us know what you think, and stay tuned for more on this highly-anticipated drama.