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

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

Leonardo DiCaprio, Harvey Weinstein Say 'Revenant,' 'Hateful Eight' Productions Witnessed Climate Change 'Firsthand'
Courtesy of Weinstein Co./20th Century Fox

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.