The Revenant tells the true story of Hugh Glass, an American fur trapper in the early 1800s, played by a scraggle-bearded and dirtied-up Leonardo DiCaprio looking like an extra from Vikings in the very first images from the film. Continuing to push the boundaries of filmmaking after his Oscar-nominated Birdman, writer-director Alejandro González Iñárritu has located his production of The Revenant to a remote part of Calgary. In the dead of winter. This man does not joke around.
The movie also stars Tom Hardy and Will Poulter, whose characters leave Glass for dead after a grizzly attack. The story, based on Michael Punke‘s novel of the same name, then follows Glass as he makes a 200-mile trek to find those men who abandoned him, and exact his revenge.
According to EW, which debuted the first The Revenant images, Iñárritu is only shooting with natural light in locations untouched by mankind (well, until now). Because there are only a few hours of daylight in which to shoot each day, the production will continue through April (Iñárritu’s cinematographer is the Oscar-winning Emmanuel Lubezki of Gravity, Birdman, and The Tree of Life fame). Of the experience, Iñárritu says, “it’s a fun ride.” Different strokes, different folks.
Iñárritu also sandwiched his praise of DiCaprio, saying, “He’s a brave, incredible actor. I’m so surprised about how good he is. I think there’s a profound understanding of humanity that I can see through his eyes.”
So surprised about how good he is?
Ultimately, Iñárritu said of his latest production, “It’s a very experimental thing that we’re doing here … I’m now addicted to doing things that can fail horribly or maybe that can give us a surprise. We are all into it.” The filmmaker is shooting the entire movie in sequence, something that’s increasingly rare these days as it’s not exactly cost-effective.
The film is slated for a prime release date of December 25th, which will have it in competition with Mission: Impossible 5 and David O. Russell‘s Joy. Will Iñárritu (and DiCaprio) find himself back in the Oscar race? We’ll find out nearly a year from now.