Leonardo DiCaprio Says ‘The Revenant’ Was His Most Difficult Film

Leonardo DiCaprio says the extreme conditions while filming “The Revenant” meant that “It was the most difficult film, I think, that any of us have ever done.”

The actor made his remarks Monday night at a Q&A session following the screening at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theatre in Beverly Hills. Fox and New Regency unwrapped the film, one of the year’s most anticipated, for guild and media members at several screenings Sunday and Monday.

DiCaprio said they rehearsed like a stage production for a long time, since the camera moves were intricate and they often had only 90 minutes a day to capture “the beautiful, illustrious Chivo light,” a reference to d.p. Emmanuel Lubezki.

Director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu pointed out that there were complicated, single takes that lasted several minutes and they were sometimes filming in 30-below temperatures, adding “conditions were against us all the time.” He said the cold was a big challenge because “I’m a tropical man from Mexico City.”

Inarritu, who was also co-scripter (with Mark L. Smith), said they had just completed the film last week. He had started scouting five years ago, knowing every location in advance, because he knew filming would be tricky.

DiCaprio pointed out that it’s a very straightforward, linear narrative, but “we wanted to find the poetry” in the work about a man who tracks down the people who left him for dead. The actor said the months of preparation were invaluable, because often a lot gets lost in translation when making a film. So it was great to have conversations ahead of time, especially since his character doesn’t speak much: “It was almost like a silent-movie performance.”

Repping the film’s complex and impressive sound were panelists Martin Hernandez and Randy Thom. Hernandez, Inarritu’s longtime colleague, said the filmmaker is more sound-driven than image-driven, and Inarritu acknowledged that he’s a frustrated musician. He paid tribute to the three composers — Bryce Dessner, Carsten Nicolai and Ryuichi Sakamoto — who made “this weird guacamole of music.”

Thom said he joined the film in postproduction, and was asked to design all the sounds for the bear attack. He spent a month on the memorable sequence. His mandate was to create sounds as realistic as possible, and he said it’s easier to exaggerate such sounds, but very difficult to be subtle — “well, as subtle as a bear attack can be.”

Also participating in the Q&A were producers Mary Parent and Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin; actors Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck and Arthur Redcloud. The film is from Fox, New Regency, Appian Way and RatPac Entertainment.

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  1. Jacquieline Lowe says:

    Very important cinema–quality of real lives lived. Balance the bitter with beauty of life. Impressive. I am looking forward to this, and will most likely respect it as much as I have some of DiCaprio’s other work which is exceptional.

  2. Jody says:

    Lol Leo claimed he slept in a real animal carcass but the producer told THR that it wasn’t a real carcass and he was in it “a couple of hours”. What an asshat.

  3. Jas Aub says:

    Poor Leo. Must be that darn “Climate Change” thingy.

    • Mike says:

      Please. This man has SUFFERED FOR HIS ART. Will somebody finally give him an Oscar? He can’t take it anymore! If you don’t, you just know his next role will be a biopic about a learning disabled Holocaust victim.

      • Oh wah wah. He’s also been financially remunerated very well for his ‘suffering.’ Give me a break with the ‘suffering’. That spoiled clown knows nothing of real suffering.

  4. Keij says:

    Leo is going to win an oscar next year. I am predicting it now.

  5. Lep says:

    I thought the same thing – what a weak article to leave out the critical information of locale. Sad.

    • timgray2013 says:

      There were nine people on the panel, and none of them mentioned specific locations. The end credits thank people in Alberta, Argentina and California, but there is no credit listing locations. And none of those places was mentioned Monday night.

  6. Michael Edge says:

    How about mentioning where it was filmed? I believe it was in Canada which would explain why the conditions were both harsh and the scenery so stunningly beautiful.

  7. LackingTact19 says:

    Idk… Matt Damon had to stay on Mars alone for months

    • Mike says:

      True. Damon not only suffered months on Mars, but he also got stuck for years on the Ice Planet in Interstellar. Leo’s suffering comes nowhere close!

  8. Rob says:

    30 below, lol. I live where this was filmed last year, leo and the others were spotted around town. Squamish, BC – 45mins from Vancouver, fact it was not that cold when filming was happening, we had one of the dryest winters on record it was always raining, hardily any snow…

  9. AJ says:

    Being from South Dakota and being familiar with the story of Hugh Glass I’ll definitely see the film. That being said I can’t get over that fact that the story is getting twisted by being filmed in Canada. Most people won’t know the difference (or care) but changing the setting really changes how the story is going to be told. From what I’ve read, seems like they could have made filming much easier AND kept the setting true to the story by filming in NW South Dakota. But maybe that’s why I’m not in the film industry.

    • Arron says:

      AJ i believe that they did film some of the movie in Montana and SD. I would imagine the largest reason they filmed in Canada is due to large Sioux nation in Alberta. Much of this film was on their land and with their people. They do not see themselves as Canadians or Americans, but rather Sioux people as a whole regardless of the border.

  10. M. says:

    ‘ that any of us have ever done’ ??? really, Leo? in your eternal chase for the elusive Oscar, sounds like you’re dismissing the efforts of all your fellow actors. Shame.

    • Brandon Michaels says:

      I think he’s referring only to the cast of the film, not all actors ever.

      • M. says:

        Perhaps; I might have missed that. However, Mad Max Fury Road or the Dark Knight movies were no picnic in the park, either. Or training for Warrior. Hardy might know a few things about ‘difficulties’, too.

  11. Brad says:

    A guacamole of music is NOT a film score. So sad that many film directors do not understand what film composer is or does, or what a proper film score can do. Any film that hires 3 composers has already lost merit as far as the score.Yeah, the problem is exactly that he is trying to be an amateur film composer and direct at the same time.

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