‘The Revenant’ Star Leonardo DiCaprio Risks Life And Limb To Deliver Believability

The Revenant is primarily a western. Even with a big name like Leonardo DiCaprio attached to it, period pieces like The Revenant rarely do well, but this film may be the exception to the rule, especially once DiCaprio fans learn to what lengths the actor went for authenticity.

The story of The Revenant, based on true events, reminds us that not all vengeful spirits are supernatural entities, as Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) hunts down the men who left him for dead, burying him in a shallow grave. Jezebel accurately describes The Revenant‘s trailer as mind-blowing in itself, jolting the viewer with glimpses of bear attacks and a journey in search of justice by a man unencumbered by the fear of death.

“I’m not afraid of dying. I’ve done it already,” Hugh Glass ominously says.

The Revenant: Leonardo DiCaprio Took On The Film Nobody Else Wanted

It was made clear from the very beginning that The Revenant wouldn’t be an easy project, particularly because of the lengths with which director Alejandro González Iñárritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki were willing to go to achieve the ultimate feel of authenticity. For that reason, the project floated around Hollywood with little interest from actors, until DiCaprio was introduced to the project. DiCaprio says The Revenant required filming on location in areas that were really very inhospitable to human beings, forcing everyone on set to endure whatever Mother Nature threw at them.

DiCaprio added that The Revenant director was very specific and very strict about what he wanted for the film and how he wanted The Revenant to present itself on screen, which may have ruffled some feathers along the way. Leonardo DiCaprio adds that those who stuck with the project, seeing it through to the end, deserve credit for their hard work and dedication.

“…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.”

Leonardo DiCaprio Suffered For His Art

The dangers of nature that can be seen in The Revenant are based on fact and Leonardo can attest to the fact that advanced technology hasn’t really changed living in the wilderness. DiCaprio reveals that he has had to endure some of the same things as the characters in the film, from eating raw bison liver to risking hypothermia.

“I certainly don’t eat raw bison liver on a regular basis,” DiCaprio said of Hugh Glass’ diet in The Revenant in an interview with Yahoo Movies. “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.”

DiCaprio adds that filming The Revenant involved scenes that required extremely strenuous physical activity on Leonardo’s part, requiring the actor to do some of the most difficult things he’s ever had to do. Speaking of the bear attack scene, DiCaprio wouldn’t say exactly how the scene was shot, but did confirm that it was not shot using CGI technology. Leonardo mentions the use of cables and rehearsals that involved having the actor tossed about the forest, just as is seen in the finished scene.

DiCaprio says the difficult experiences in filming that scene are worth it.

“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.”

The Revenant is scheduled for a January 8 theatrical release in the U.S.

[Photo courtesy of 20th Century Fox/The Revenant]