To say the production of The Revenant was grueling is, well, a bit of an understatement. The shooting schedule alone is hellish—director Alejandro G. Iñárritu began filming the frontier-set revenge drama last September and didn’t capture the film’s final shot until this past July. There were breaks in filming to accommodate Iñárritu’s awards campaign for Birdman, but the lack of cooperation with the weather meant that they had to halt filming in remote portions of Canada earlier this spring and look for a new location for the film’s finale. They found it in a deeply southern location in South America, near Antarctica. Indeed, the production of The Revenant nearly spanned both poles!
So it comes as little surprise, then, to learn that co-star Tom Hardy—who plays one of the fur trappers that leaves Leonardo DiCaprio for dead, at his own peril—got into a bit of a tussle with Iñárritu on set. Speaking with EW, Hardy admitted the two had somewhat of a wrestling match, but there’s no hard feelings:
“When things get a bit too serious, I go, ‘Why don’t we have a cuddle in front of all these people here?’ It ends with both of us falling down in the snow. I think that’s a good thing. If I’m the naughty boy for doing that, then I’d rather be the naughty boy and release that tension.”
Hardy had praise for Iñárritu as well, albeit acknowledging the tense shoot at the same time:
“He’s unlike any director I’ve ever worked with. He sees things how he sees them, so to give him back what he wants is quite an interesting experience. It could drive you f—ing nuts.”
The filmmaker’s vision for The Revenant involved shooting the film in sequence (or trying to, at least, until the weather said,”NOPE”) and shooting almost always using natural light, during Magic Hour. Cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki had plenty of practice in this arena from working with Terrence Malick on The Tree of Life and To the Wonder, but things were much more complicated given the remote locations and extreme cold involved on The Revenant.
Regardless, per Iñárritu he has plenty of love for Hardy at heart:
“On the surface, he can look inaccessible or difficult. But he is just a beautiful human being. He’s incredibly sensitive and lovable.”
The ever-charming and unpredictable Hardy also had some fascinating words about his co-star, DiCaprio, who we’ve already learned has few lines of dialogue within the context of the film:
“I do a bit of heavy-lifting with all the lingo and Leo does the face-pulling. He does some significant face-pulling. And he’s awesome at it.”
Hardy, DiCaprio, Lubezki, Iñárritu, and a production so intense it’s verging on mythic status. Can we see this movie now? The Revenant opens in limited release on December 25th and expands wide in January.