The trailer for the new Tom Hardy movie The Revenant has dropped amidst claims from an unnamed whistleblower that it was “a living hell to shoot.” The Revenant stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. Billed as a “gritty revenge western,” The Revenant is the latest effort from the Academy award-winning director of Birdman, Alejandro G. Inarritu.
According to the Guardian, unnamed insider sources have claimed that life was “a living hell” on the set of the new movie. Tom Hardy, when asked about this, refused to be drawn. As the Guardian points out, however, it seems likely that conditions were bound to be harsh on the set. Inarritu’s new movie is set in a cold, bleak wasteland, and his unwillingness to make heavy use of CGI, coupled with his cinematographer’s preference for natural light, must have meant some very early mornings, exposed conditions, and long periods of waiting in the cold.
Compared to the look and feel of Birdman, we can see that Inarritu has chosen a completely different look and feel for his new movie. Tom Hardy, barely recognisable in his cold weather gear, drawls out his lines under a slate gray sky amidst columns of tall, snow-flecked trees. The filters are heavy with gray and blue, giving the whole trailer a cool, sophisticated and minimalist feel, utterly unlike the dark, rich flamboyance of Birdman.
If the sheer harsh beauty of the trailer is anything to go by, it was well worth suffering to make this new movie. Tom Hardy, Leonardo DiCaprio and the rest of the all-male cast look utterly convincing as dirty, half-frozen nomads of the wasteland. The Guardian describes the look and feel of the film as “hard and uncompromising”, while also commenting on its beauty. Looking at the trailer, it’s hard to disagree. We see the fur-trappers running from Native American raiders, the distressing encounter between DiCaprio and a bear and Glass being buried in a shallow grave by Tom Hardy. New movie releases this year may have trouble competing with The Revenant’s savagery and unique beauty.
Perhaps this more gritty, uncompromising tone has something to do with the fact that The Revenant is based on a novel written about real-life fur trapper Hugh Glass, played by DiCaprio. Glass was one of the legends of the old west, sharing fame and adventures with the likes of the famous Jim Bridger. It was Bridger and John Fitzgerald who did indeed abandon Glass to his fate after he had been mauled by a bear. John Fitzgerald is played by Tom Hardy. Movie adapters were spoilt for choice when it came to a base story – Hugh Glass’ epic 200-mile trek and tale of survival has a plethora of written accounts.
It’s likely that a portion of the reaction is going to be based on the historicity or lack thereof for Inarritu’s new movie. Tom Hardy and DiCaprio are playing a pair of American heroes from the past, and the events are loosely historical. Nobody really knows what happened when Bridger and Fitzgerald abandoned Glass, with Glass remaining relatively tight-lipped and the two other men’s accounts being suspect for obvious reasons. Whatever the truth of the sequence of events, Inarritu, if the trailer is anything to go by, has kept faith with the feel of the period as he sees it. From what we’ve seen in the trailer, the period detail is just as uncompromising as the shooting conditions for the new movie. Tom Hardy and Leonardo DiCaprio are joined by an overwhelmingly male cast, including Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Paul Anderson, Brendan Fletcher, Brad Carter, and Robert Moloney.
The Revenant will have a limited release on Christmas day with a wide release on January 8.
[Images Courtesy of 20th Century Fox]