Fast becoming one of the more intriguing shoots in modern film history, Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s visceral revenge drama The Revenant was fraught with issues during production, with everything from adverse weather conditions to complex battle sequences threatening to unceremoniously derail the director’s adaptation.
Thankfully, Iñárritu’s picture is nearing the end of the tunnel, on a track that will surely fire The Revenant directly into contention for this year’s Academy awards. Not only does it have the Birman director at the helm, but there’s also Emmanuel Lubezki (AKA Chivo) working as director of photography. Aiming for his third consecutive Oscar in the wake of Gravity and Birdman, some of the near pitch-perfect tracking shots and sprawling vistas glimpsed in the film’s trailers indicate that Lubezki is surely in with a shout.
On the other end of the lens, however, it was the likes of Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domnhall Gleeson and Leonardo DiCaprio that had to brave the icy environments, and in an interview with IGN, the latter actor spoke about his character, Hugo Glass.
The whole story of Hugh Glass has been well written about, but ultimately it’s stuff of campfire legend and it’s more a representation of this American frontiersman and what they were capable of in – I suppose being able to dominate the wilderness or live with it. And, ultimately for me so much of the wardrobe and so much of working with the different people that we had on set – whether they be doctors or survivalists – all really dictated what that character was going to be. Because once that was secure and locked into my mindset, I could just concentrate on what I needed to do as an actor.
Betrayed and left for dead in the wilderness, Glass then sets about enacting his revenge on the men who left him behind, paving the way for a raw and brutal survival tale, and every element of the film’s marketing material hints that this could be a tour-de-force by DiCaprio. Speaking about the innate themes of nature, the actor then touched upon the environmental themes coursing through the veins of Iñárritu’s drama.
The truth is so much of this story has an environmental undertone that I don’t think I quite discovered when I originally read the screenplay. But thank God Alejandro’s a very compassionate and collaborative director. I mean many of the conversations we had were about portraying indigenous people – Native Americans – for the first time not in a Hollywood cliché.
Clocking in at 156 minutes in length, The Revenant is set for a limited release on December 25 – and early reviews are extremely positive.