The narrative is familiar and well known by now: Alejandro G. Iñárritu‘s “The Revenant” was a tough shoot. There’s absolutely no debating that. Almost as punishing as the trials that Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Hugh Glass goes through, the director’s film faced no shortage of hurdles during its lengthy on-location shoot, which included crew turnover, battling the elements, and even global warming (the ending of the movie had to be filmed at the southernmost tip of Argentina, when conditions became too warm in Canada). And while some may question Iñárritu’s methods in the era of green screen, and studio lots that have almost every toy imaginable, the director defends his choices, while acknowledging it could’ve gone horribly wrong.
“It was insane. I would say the film is a happy accident of a very bad decision,” he told Rolling Stone. “It’s the result of an irresponsible decision that I made. But we need that sometimes — to be naive, blind from reality. If not, we will not embark ourselves on things. I’ll be an office guy or whatever. I mean, I’m not an idiot — I knew how difficult it would be. But I can feel now how far I was from reality when I was deciding how this was to be made. I’m glad that I did that irresponsible decision, but it could have been really bad. You know what I mean? Like when you climb Mount Everest and nobody dies, but we were so close! It’s that feeling of relief.”
And Iñárritu’s bold journey was not lost on his lead actor. “I’ve been in a lot of ambitious projects — ‘Titanic’ was certainly one of them — but this seemed absolutely bizarre, and like a crazy adventure to be a part of,” DiCaprio said. “In a lot of ways, I think Alejandro was looking for a ‘Fitzcarraldo’ experience.”
“He wanted to go into the heart of darkness, and not only film nature, but really immerse himself in a completely transformative experience,” he added.
Up for some major Academy Awards, we’ll see if that hard work pays off with gold statues at the Oscars on February 28th.