‘The Revenant’: 8 Facts About The Real Story Behind The Film

The Revenant is perhaps the most talked about movie this awards season and is nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. The movie is based on the real-life story of fur trapper Hugh Glass and it is intimidating in its power and majesty.

There are a number of facts about The Revenant and the real-life story that are truly mind-blowing.

1. Ray Mears weighed in about the facts of The Revenant in an interview with The Telegraph. It turns out that when Glass, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, eats raw bison liver in the movie, it is a good thing to do.

“Raw bison liver is fine to eat. In fact, it would be very important. If you eat raw liver, you get complete amino acids, so it will prevent starvation. It’s very good to eat it raw because the liver contains a lot of blood and blood contains carbohydrates, which will help keep you warm. It acts as a wick that enables you to burn the wax, which is the fat in your body. So it actually enables you to utilise the resources your body already has.”

2. Mears also says the Glass could have survived the actual bear attack, but it wouldn’t have been necessary to maul him the way the bear in the movie did. He explains when discussing a bear attack on a female hunter.

“The bear was just warning her off. She wasn’t thrown around like a rag doll, which you’ll see in the movie. The bear doesn’t need to do that because the bear is used to fighting other bears, which have thick skin, whereas ours is tissue paper by comparison. She was horrifically injured and it took a lot of plastic surgery for her to recover.”

3. In real life, She Knows reports that after the bear attack and being left for dead, Glass set his own leg and dealt with infection in his wounds by letting maggots eat the dead skin away.

4. Exclaim reports that Alejandro González Iñárritu was not the first choice as director for The Revenant. Korean director Chan-wook Park first had the job, but he withdrew because production was taking too long. Then Australian director John Hillcoat and Jean-François Richet had a shot at it. Iñárritu signed on in 2011.

5. Leonardo DiCaprio was chosen for the part of Hugh Glass in The Revenant in part due to his environmental activism.

“Leo responded incredibly well to the historical context of this film and what it means for him personally, regarding the connection with nature. All the elements coincided to make Leo the best choice. And we were right — he delivers something that people will be incredibly surprised and moved by.”

6. During the filming of The Revenant, DiCaprio actually got involved in competitive axe-throwing, within the confines of the cast and crew, of course. Clay Landry, a historian hired to train the cast, found DiCaprio already knew what he was doing. “Leo, Dom[hnall Gleeson], and the others got a little $20 bet going. Leo took their money.”

7. Filming had to be delayed due to a lack of snow in Alberta, as explained by producer Steve Golin.

“It was the warmest winter in 35 years in Calgary, so we ran out of snow in places. Ultimately, the snow issue became a really big problem we couldn’t solve in Canada, or even in the Western hemisphere.”

8. The Revenant was shot using only natural light. DiCaprio likened it to a ballet.

“To pull off these complicated sequences, like a ballet, movement needed to be precise. When it came down to that nail-biting moment to capture that magic light, every day was like putting on a mini-piece of theater. If we lost that one hour, if we didn’t accomplish what we had to accomplish, we were there the next day.”

[Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images]