For those wondering why Leonardo DiCaprio has refused to pick up a razor for the past six months, go ahead and blame director Alejandro González Iñárritu.
The filmmaker, currently basking in the glow of his Oscar-nominated "Birdman," has been shooting "The Revenant" on and off for the last six months in various parts of Alberta. The film, which stars DiCaprio in the lead role, tells the true story of Hugh Glass, a 19th-century fur trapper left for dead by his party (played by Tom Hardy and Will Poulter) after a grizzly bear attack. Hell-bent on revenge, he survived an incredible 200-mile trek back to civilization to bring justice to those who left him behind.
While Glass's harrowing 1823 adventure took place near the Grand River in South Dakota, Iñárritu has opted to use the scenic landscapes of British Columbia and Alberta, Canada. Unlike most other Hollywood productions, "The Revenant" is being filmed completely in sequence, a rare and complicated piece of filmmaking that, while certainly more expensive, will likely give DiCaprio an opportunity to embrace his character's journey from the edge of death and back.
Like director Jean-Marc Vallee did for Reese Witherspoon's "Wild," Iñárritu is also choosing to film all of "The Revenant" using only natural light.
"The light is very reduced here in winter, and we are not shooting with any electrical lighting, just natural light," he told Deadline. "And every single scene is so difficult — emotionally, technically. I’ve gotten myself in trouble again, but I’m trying my best."
Director Alejandro González Iñárritu and Leonardo DiCaprio on set in Calgary, Alberta. (Photo: EW.com)
Iñárritu added that filming will take another three months — so don't expect DiCaprio's beard to disappear anytime soon.
“We don’t finish until the end of April or May, and we are shooting very small hours," he said. "It was planned this way, to be little-by-little jewel moments; that’s the way I designed the production. That was both to create intensity in these moments, as well as the climate conditions. We are shooting in such remote far-away locations that, by the time we arrive and have to return, we have already spent 40 percent of the day. But those locations are so gorgeous and so powerful, they look like they have never been touched by a human being, and that’s what I needed."
"The Revenant" will hit select theaters on Dec. 25, 2015, expanding nationwide in the U.S. on Jan. 8, 2016.
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