Leonardo DiCaprio’s Academy Awards plight has been well-documented (and notoriously well-memed). The 40-year-old actor has been nominated four times but has yet to walk away with a golden statue. But you know what? 2015 is the year that could change that.
Before you get to rolling your eyes, just roll with us here. See, DiCaprio stars in “Birdman" director Alejandro G. Inarritu's upcoming film “The Revenant," which, frankly, looks nothing short of epic. Leo plays a 19th-century frontiersman who suffers a vicious bear attack and then sets out on a grueling journey for vengeance against a trapper who left him for dead (played by the equally impressive-looking Tom Hardy).
In a new interview with Yahoo, DiCaprio details the film's notoriously harrowing shoot, which reportedly saw crew members quitting mid-production because of miserable weather conditions. But sticking it out and spending the better part of a year shooting the film is exactly the kind of self-sacrifice Oscar voters love… and if they hear the dirty details about Leo’s role, they’d surely feel swayed to recognize his work.
“I can name 30 or 40 sequences that were some of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do,” he told Yahoo. “Whether it’s going in and out of frozen rivers, or sleeping in animal carcasses, or what I ate on set. [I was] enduring freezing cold and possible hypothermia constantly.”
As for the specific menu on set, we’ll let Leo elaborate: “I certainly don’t eat raw bison liver on a regular basis,” he said. “When you see the movie, you’ll see my reaction to it, because Alejandro kept it in. It says it all. It was an instinctive reaction.”
DiCaprio also described the violent bear attack scene, which he said involved a lot of careful planning and choreography.
“[Those scenes]—amongst many other sequences—were some of the more difficult things I’ve ever had to do in my entire career,” he said. “But the end result is going to be one of the most immersive experiences audiences will ever have with what it would be like to come face-to-face with an animal of that magnitude that is incredibly primal.”
Despite those gritty details, DiCaprio teased the revenge tale as “one of the most unique film-going experiences that audiences have seen in modern times.” And while that may sound like a suspiciously bold declaration to make, he backs it up by pointing to Inarritu and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki’s unparalleled vision. The film, after all, is shot entirely in natural light, which is no easy feat to pull off.
“The truth is that I knew what I was getting into,” DiCaprio said. “This was a film that had been floating around for quite some time, but nobody was crazy enough to really take this on, simply because of the logistics of where we needed to shoot and the amount of work and rehearsal that would have to be done to achieve Alejandro and [Lubezki’s] vision.”
“The Revenant” opens in theaters on Dec. 25. Check out the stunning trailer below: