Leonardo DiCaprio, Harvey Weinstein Say ‘Revenant,’ ‘Hateful Eight’ Productions Witnessed Climate Change ‘Firsthand’

Leonardo DiCaprio, Harvey Weinstein Say 'Revenant,'
Courtesy of Weinstein Co./20th Century Fox

Waiting for snow or chasing it to South America, two Oscar contenders felt the heat during production.

With ongoing climate change discussions at the COP21 conference in Paris seeking to achieve a binding and universal agreement on climate from all the nations of the world, it’s interesting to note that the heat, so to speak, was felt by two of the biggest Oscar contenders this season.

“I hear some of these candidates say climate change is not real, it’s like, ‘Really? Would you like to be in the movie business?'” Harvey Weinstein, backer of Quentin Tarantino’s “Hateful Eight,” says. “‘Would you like to go to a place where it’s always snowed and it doesn’t, where all of a sudden in the middle of winter it gets hot?'”

The film shot outside of Telluride, Colo. and was dependent on snow throughout. The story largely taking place in a small, interior location, however, allowed for the production to move indoors or outdoors depending on what the weather gave them.

The Revenant” star Leonardo DiCaprio, meanwhile, has been working on a documentary about climate change that has been keeping tabs on the unprecedented weather patterns that occurred in 2015. The year is on track to become the warmest year in recorded history, he noted at a recent SAG screening and Q&A, breaking records set in 2014. It’s a subject of great interest to the actor, who eight years ago produced a similar documentary, “The 11th Hour,” which covered grave problems facing the planet, from global warming to deforestation to mass species extinction and the depletion of ocean habitats.

At the Q&A for Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s film — which shot largely on location in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, but ended up having to chase snow all the way down to Argentina in August — the actor spoke about witnessing drastic shifts with his own eyes.

“We were in Calgary and the locals were saying, ‘This has never happened in our province, ever,'” he said to the largely guild and Academy audience. “We would come and there would be eight feet of snow, and then all of a sudden a warm gust of wind would come.”

While there has been a lot of talk about the difficulty of making the film, which was shot in sequence using only natural light, DiCaprio asked the audience to imagine relying solely on what nature gives you, and then realizing that “thousands of people” need to be put on hold when the elements aren’t cooperating.

“And of course, I’m not talking about climate change in relation to movies and how difficult it’s going to be to make movies,” he said, “but it was scary. I’ve never experienced something so firsthand that was so dramatic. You see the fragility of nature and how easily things can be completely transformed with just a few degrees difference. It’s terrifying, and it’s what people are talking about all over the world. And it’s simply just going to get worse.”

Adds Weinstein, “Those guys, at the end of the day, have to go to the glacier in Argentina. I mean, this is insanity. It’s not supposed to happen. The weather has changed. Right now I can walk outside in New York in my T-shirt. It’s Thanksgiving. It was a hundred degrees when I visited my daughter in LA three weeks ago. I’m just going to take those candidates [who deny climate change] and have them hang out with us in Telluride and take them up to where they shot ‘The Revenant.'”

Both films are set for limited release on Christmas Day.

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  1. David Moe says:

    Obviously the locals were funnin’ with DiCaprio when they said, “This never happens” because it happens all the time. You go to work in the morning, and there is 3 feet of snow on the ground, you come out at lunch and it’s all gone. In a full-on Chinook the warm winds will come over the mountaintops at hurricane force, There are no trees on the windward sides of the mountains because they’ve all been blown away. On the plains, the winds will blow semi-trailers off the highway and the snow will sublimate – evaporate without melting. Poof! It’s gone. It’s the reverse of a blizzard, which Alberta also has, and which are equally drastic, although the Chinooks get more attention because few other places have such drastic warm winds. The blizzards can be really nasty so the Chinooks are much more popular.

    If he wants to see the results of climate change, he should look around at the Rocky Mountain foothills near Calgary. The foothills are heavily glaciated. There is a big rock south of Calgary near Okotoks (which means “big rock” in Blackfoot) which is the size of an apartment building. It is a “glacial erratic”, brought there from the mountains by the glaciers during the last ice age. The tourists ask, “Where are the glaciers now?” and the tour guides say, “Went back for more rocks!” And they will come back eventually. Climate change? New? Not!

  2. ut8t5 says:

    DiCaprio is an ignorant buffoon. People who listen to him are fools.

  3. Melissa McGinnis says:

    Seriously? Have neither of these people heard of a lovely little thing called a Chinook? And why, if they are filming in Calgary or Colorado, go all the way to Argentina when between Alberta and British Columbia lies the Columbia ice fields??

  4. Hi says:

    I’ve lived in Western Canada my whole life, in Calgary now and for much of that time, and yes Chinook winds let us ride our bikes on Chistmas day in the 70’s and two years ago we saw two feet of snow in a day…but I have also been around long enough to see the Columbia glaciers that I used to meet at the highway receed to the point you need a bus ride to get to them and local developers and politicians argue for 30 years we need yet another ski resort in the remote Jumbo Creek west of Invermere, BC, in a pristine backcountry you can get to with a little effort anyhow as spot lighted this winter by our friends at Patagonia.

    Yes, like many, Leo witnessed and commented on our freakish weather at the foot of the Rockies, when perhaps he could have commented on a struggling oil and gas based economy with twice as many people out of work than when he visited only a year ago, the ridiculous local opposition to the city creating bike lanes in the core (imagine…yes, my wife and I both ride our bikes @20km to work in the warmer moths to stay fit) and how a city of @half a million in the 80’s more than doubled in size and population in less than two decades to well over a million with nearly uncontainable development and urban sprawl with traffic that can rival the largest cities and cab and parking rates that rival New York City and LA.

    It is ignorant to make claims about a community you don’t understand but a disservice to your cause not take the time – or have one of your assistants or publicists take the time – to discuss real local issues and impacts of climate and development. It is just as ignorant for Calgarians to sit in our SUV’s with our Latte’s and pretend we have no impact and Leo’s luxurious lifestyle is one we don’t aspire to in what is still one of the richest cities in the Americas.

    Yes, do your homework Leo, but Calgarians can do more to open their eyes to the simple changes we can manifest to make our world more sustainable and ensure our children do the same.

  5. Leonardo the “IDIOT” liberal. It’s called a chinook you buffoon. Not firsthand climate change It’s liberals like this stupid knucklehead that yip off without any facts. I haven’t stopped laughing at this imbecile. “Firsthand Climate Change” ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

  6. Hype-o-cry-T says:

    “I hear some of these candidates say climate change is not real, it’s like, ‘Really? Would you like to be in the movie business?’”
    No. Do you realize how much pollutants your movie business makes? And these are total nuisance pollution as movie industry does not benefit nature. So yeah, take your private jet to your private yacht and got to conference to talk how bad oil industry is.

  7. Wayne says:

    DiCaprio. it’s called a chinook wind.
    You know a lot of people believe every word celebrities say. So if you’re going say something very political you should get your facts straight.
    I have lived in Calgary all my life and anyone that has been here for a winter knows what a blessing the chinook winds are. If you want less opposition to climate change don’t spread disinformation.


    Chinook winds /ʃɪˈnʊk/, or simply chinooks, are foehn winds[1] in the interior West of North America, where the Canadian Prairies and Great Plains meet various mountain ranges, although the original usage is in reference to wet, warm coastal winds in the Pacific Northwest.[2]

    Chinook is claimed by popular folk-etymology to mean “ice-eater”, but it is really the name of the people in the region where the usage was first derived. The reference to a wind or weather system, simply “a Chinook”, originally meant a warming wind from the ocean into the interior regions of the Northwest of the USA (the Chinook people lived near the ocean, along the lower Columbia River). A strong Chinook can make snow one foot deep almost vanish in one day[citation needed]. The snow partly melts and partly evaporates in the dry wind. Chinook winds have been observed to raise winter temperature, often from below -20°C (-4°F) to as high as 10-20°C (50-68°F) for a few hours or days, then temperatures plummet to their base levels. The greatest recorded temperature change in 24 hours was caused by Chinook winds on January 15, 1972, in Loma, Montana; the temperature rose from -48 to 9°C (-54 to 48°F)

  8. It will never be possible to stop celebrities who spend more time on their make-up than they ever have on education from voicing an ignorant opinion and presenting it as fact. All we can hope to do is to politely correct them, so that their ignorance level might go down, even just a little bit.

    Here’s a tidbit from the Calgary paper of 115 years ago: “Those who have not the warm, invigorating Chinook winds of this country, cannot well comprehend what a blessing they are. The icy clutch of winter is lessened, the earth throws off its winding sheet of snow. Humanity ventures forth to inhale the balmy spring like air. Animated nature rejoices. —Calgary Weekly Herald, 1900”

    Some years Calgary gets no Chinooks, other years it gets many. “Don’t like the weather? Wait 15 minutes”, Calgarians say. We have had snow in every month of the year, and golfing weather in every month of the year. Calgary City Hall’s snow clearance strategy seems to rely completely on Chinooks.

    Climate change is no doubt real, and Alberta experiences it. Leo experienced a Chinook, lucky guy. And the so-called “locals” he quoted were obviously pulling his leg.

  9. tadchem says:

    Those of us who are daily exposed to changes in the WEATHER are always amazed at the naiveté of those who first experience a cold front, warm front, downpour, cyclonic wind, etc. after spending most of their lives in indoor urban environments with conditioned atmospheres.
    There is nothing apocalyptic or even unusual about a 50-degree temperature shift (either warmer or colder) here on the High Plains.

  10. ““We were in Calgary and the locals were saying, ‘This has never happened in our province, ever,’” he said to the largely guild and Academy audience. “We would come and there would be eight feet of snow, and then all of a sudden a warm gust of wind would come.””

    1. If the locals really did tell him that, I’d say they were pulling his leg. NO Calgarian would be ignorant of chinook winds.
    2. Eight feet of snow? In Calgary? Now that’s DiCaprio pulling our legs. LOL

  11. Dan Bergen says:

    This is utter stupidity. I have lived in Southern Alberta all my life. Back when we had the 88 Olympics (February), I remember seeing a guy running with his shirt off. I remember 84 and 86 being warm years as well.

  12. Chris serridge says:

    Hello from calgary. This is a chinook, these people were effing with you leo dont be terrified lol. And to everyone else; please stop looking to celebrities for anything other than looking pretty. Reminds me of when spielburg came to the oilsands. We are less than 2% of emissions globally but alberta will kill the world according to hollywood. Ugh

  13. Cathy says:

    Anyone who says his comment about climate change in Alberta is complete B.S.!!! is indeed 100% correct!! The weather they experienced is very common. Always has been. In fact Calgary experienced one of its colder winters on record two years ago. Whoever said this has never happened before must be high, or maybe what he said was an outright LIE!!!….and thinks no one who actually knows would pay attention to his BS!!

  14. Mark says:

    Leo did not “….witness climate change firsthand.” He witnessed a routine weather phenomenon called a Chinook that every Southern Albertan for generations has known well. Three things to note here:
    – Either he knows this and is simply using any experience that fits his message, to drum up more support or headlines to bolster his ‘Environmental Expertt’ credibility, hoping that those who know better won’t call him on it.
    – He doesn’t know and didn’t do any research before spouting off, and in that case shouldn’t be holding himself out there as any type of climate expert when he can’t be bothered to check the most basic of information he using.
    And finally,
    – Variety’s editing and fact checking clearly is about as good as you’d expect from an industry rag. “A Star said it, it must be true! Fact checking done, attention grabbing (but factually incorrrect) headline finished. Whew…..where’s my grande low fat soy moccachino?”

  15. Kelsey says:

    Hahaha! He definitely was talking to the wrong albertans if they have never seen this happen. The Chinooks are awesome! The headaches that can come with thme suck but hey its better than -20 and colder all the time.

  16. Anne Meyer says:

    Hey smart guy! It was a Chinook. Google it.

  17. Lee Davis says:

    DiCaprio has zero credibility, as an Albertan who has resided in the City of Calgary for the past 50 years I can attest that the warm wind called a Chinook has been here for centuries! Native peoples in this area have been describing this phenomena for a very long time. DiCaprio’s claim that “We would come and there would be eight feet of snow, and then all of a sudden a warm gust of wind would come.” is total BS! in my 50 years here there has never been any accumulation that great anywhere except maybe some mountain areas. The largest snowfall I’ve personally witnessed was 38cm or about 14 inches a Chinook arrived 2 days later and it took about 4 days to melt it away. Nothing is more irritating than some ahole using his notoriety to hid the fact that he is a liar and uses misleading statements to further his agenda!
    Reality is we cut down far too many trees and never replace them, we are eliminating the ecosystems natural tool for balancing the environment. Funny how you never hear very much about global deforestation.

  18. Linda P says:

    And HE’S making a documentary on climate change… now that’s scary.

  19. Jackie says:

    For those of us that live in Calgary, it’s called a Chinook. Due to the proximity of being close to the mountains, we get Chinooks year round and have been for many many years. It’s not global warming at all. Leo you owe us an apology for your incorrect statement. Talk to the weather experts if you don’t believe me, clearly you are not one! Plus I highly doubt it that the locals agreed with you as you say they did, because they are all familiar with the weather here and they all know what a chinook is. J.M.

  20. Spencer says:

    Leo, stick to making lame movies.

    Leave science to the smart people and quit flying around in private jets.

    How HUGE is this hypocrite’s mansion?

  21. sean says:

    Another A list actor that doesn’t know his ass from his elbow trying to keep his name in the public light, supporting an ideology he seems to be quite misinformed about. Leo and James Cameron should stick with what they know. Drive your Prius to the local library and look up Chinook.

    • Marissa says:

      Sean, its easy to say that but your comment really shows your intelligence quotient. Nothing to substantiate your point of view.

      • Lee Davis says:

        Marissa do you live in the southern part of Alberta? Or are you the type that believes everything some celebrity claims. This is nothing new, during the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics we had a Chinook grace us for most of the 10 days. Some years we have many Chinooks and some years only a few, sometimes we might not even get one. Chinooks have been occurring in this area for centuries, many stories in Native American history regarding it. Try looking up some data for yourself and stop listening to ridiculous statements by fools like DiCaprio before you post comments.

      • Spencer says:

        Nothing to substantiate your point of view.

        Go learn what a Chinook is.

  22. Dan says:

    COUGH-GAG-COUGH-meatpuppet-Cough… So let’s do a little investigation here and have some fun: Let’s pretend some huge budget film came to Calgary and wanted to do a winter shoot. It took months of negotiations & selling to get them there and when they finally bite…, a big Chinook comes and melts all the snow. (The Aboriginal word “Chinook” is ” snow eater”, hardly a new occurrence). So now all the white stuff is gone and you’re about to start shooting and all the crew is freaking out ’cause you need snow, what do you figure all the locals would be saying to these folks? I know what I’d be saying to myself after: I wonder if they bought that? Kind of disturbs you a little bit when it comes to the logic of this”star” an how he spouts off to the rest of world. And then it worsens when politicians are suckin’ up to it.

    • Melissa McGinnis says:

      I agree, I think those “locals” he mentioned were having a laugh at his expense! They probably had to change after reading of his reaction haha!

  23. Rick says:

    A lot of people in Calgary are getting a big laugh out of these DiCaprio comments this morning.

    It’s pretty normal to see wild temperature swings along the Foothills of the Rockies here through the winter. This is a common weather phenomenon called a Chinook Arch’. These Arches are preceded with rapidly rising temperatures and huge winds and then leave with a bitter wind coming in and rapidly plummeting temperatures.

    Chinook Arches will typically happen a bunch of times through a normal winter along the leeward edge of the Rockies. Periodically the timing might leave us with a “brown,” snowless Christmas as a result.

    Last year I went running in shorts, t-shirt in January. A few days later, the temperature was in the minus 20’s Celcius.

    No, Chinook Arches aren’t an indication of climate change. Our winter two years ago was unusually bitter and absent of Chinook’s actually.

    However, local old-timers DO concede winters these days seem to be less bitter than decades ago when they were walking to school backwards, uphill both ways, through 8-foot drifts.

  24. Eleanor says:

    Hi all, as a born & raised Calgarian (Albertan) – these temperature fluctuations are NORMAL. Chinooks are generally called foehn winds by meteorologists and climatologists, and, regardless of name, can occur in most places on the leeward side of a nearby mountain range. They are called “Chinook winds” throughout most of inland western North America, particularly the Rocky Mountain region. Seriously – attributing Chinooks to “climate change”, I am sorely disappointed in comments from a very famous actor (who has worldwide influence); whereby many many people will take his word as gospel. Very disappointed. There is no denying climate change, but this is pure fiction on the part of a very influential person. (it is my hope that Mr. DiCaprio has been misquoted).

    The greatest recorded temperature change in 24 hours was caused by Chinook winds on January 15, 1972, in Loma, Montana; the temperature rose from -48 to 9°C (-54 to 48°F).[3]
    Information gathered from wikipedia.org

  25. Danny Boyton says:

    I am no Alberta climate expert like Mr. DiCaprio but having lived in Calgary since the mid 80’s I think I have a valid opinion. They are called Chinooks and they are a regular occurence in this part of the world. This is Alberta not Antartica. Your location management team was sold a bill of goods and you took it as proof of global warming. Stick to acting.

  26. Nigel says:

    Leo really? who were you talking to Syrian Refugees? Chinooks (yes the wind even has a name because its so unprecedented) are a fact of life in Calgary and trust me up in in Edmonton we wish we got them during the winter when its -40+ with the wind chill. The largest recorded snowfall in Calgary was in 2013 when it was 43cm (about 20 inches). Chinooks (Calgary has a mall named after the wind) happen every year are frequent are are welcomed

  27. azarkhan says:

    Climate change, a farce cooked up by leftists to seize control of the economy and redistribute wealth. BTW, I thought after Katrina, category 5 hurricanes were supposed to be the new norm. 10 years and counting and…nothing.

    • Jeff says:

      Well what he is referring to (as you’ll see in the comments) is actaully a Chinook, which if you think that name sounds native well you’re right, it’s a wind that blows warm air into the region since before recorded history of Alberta none to blow away all the snow. I know sounds man made to me too (eyes rolling)

  28. Mary says:

    Obviously no one told Leonardo DiCaprio about ‘chinooks’ which have been happening in western Canada since the beginning of time. Winter in Alberta has always been a mix of periods of sub zero temperatures and snow then suddenly a warm wind would come and melt the snow. When this happens we can sit in our shorts and have drinks on the patio. The locals he’s referring to who have said that this has never happened before must be the easterners who moved to the west to work in the oilfields to support their families back home.

    The fact that he is using chinooks as an argument for climate change is a joke.

  29. Alexander says:

    What a news story! Filled with the accurate findings of multiple longitudinal studies carried out by unbiased and skilled scientific professionals. (Man, we really need a ‘sarcasm’ font.)

    C’mon Variety, stop with the op-eds and just report actual movie news.

  30. cm220 says:

    Well this is a -very- scientific sampling over the making of 2 films, with subjective comments by an actor, producer and second hand reports of what ‘locals’ allegedly said.

    And actors, producers and ‘locals’ are all climate experts too aren’t they. :-/

    • guest says:

      Idiots are still denying it even though SCIENTISTS, people with actual degrees have studies to prove that the earth is rapidly changing and not in a good way.
      But if you want to keep denying it just because people in the entertainment business are bringing it up then fine.

      • NB says:

        It’s not denying anything. The fact is simply that what Leo experienced was a naturally occurring weather event – A CHINOOK! And we certainly never had 8 feet of snow within City limits, last year or in recent memory.

        The Weather Network explains Calgary weather (scientifically), and if you live here, especially if your family has lived here since 1912, you know it’s just our weather. Don’t like it? Wait 15 minutes. There’s no “climate change denying” going on – Calgarians are trying to explain what a Chinook is.

      • Spencer says:

        Idiots are still believing that “Global warming” nonsense.

        Oh, wait!

        That narrative was DISPROVEN and NOW you envirotwits call it “climate change”….


        The climate ALWAYS changes.

        Remember learning about ALL those HUGE glaciers that scoured North America?

  31. actually, in the southern alberta, calgary, area we receive chinooks. a strong chinook can melt a foot of snow in a day. part of the reason people choose to move to yyc, is the large amount of solar radiation and the lack of permanent deep freeze over the winter months.

  32. cadavra says:

    When I moved to L.A. in 1981, triple-digit temps were extremely rare and usually only in the Valley. Now they’re almost citywide and can begin as early as April and late as December; last summer we had 36 straight days of it. Anyone who thinks this is normal is either an imbecile or on the Koch payroll. Or both.

  33. John Th says:

    You mean they witnessed…….weather.

    • Marie says:

      Weather that’s not supposed to occur.

      • colhere says:

        What’s “not supposed to occur”? It’s a regular phenomenon that’s been occurring here well before colonization that has been given the name “Chinook”.

      • Trolling Leo says:

        Marie, please read up before commenting. As an Albertan I can assure you Chinooks have happened in this area for centuries and happens all the time. This is not accurate information. If you choose to believe an actor over meteorologists and history, that is your choice. It’s not correct, but it is your choice.

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