Into The Mind Of A Master: Inarritu On Shooting This Breathtaking Scene From 'The Revenant'!

By Aditya Savnal. Posted on February 08, 2016

By now we have heard countless stories about the obstacles faced by Inarritu while shooting for The Revenant. From production and budgeting issues to the crew abandoning the shoot midway, Inarritu saw it all. But with the film garnering critical and commercial acclaim besides a bevy of Oscar nominations, it seems the dark and gloomy vengeance saga is poised for a glorious ending.

Based on the incredible true story of fur trapper Hugh Glass, the film set in 1823 sees Glass (DiCaprio) fights for survival and seek revenge from John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) who kills his son.

We came across a video on New York Times' YouTube channel in which Inarritu talks about shooting the scene in which DiCaprio tries to save himself from the Arikara tribes.

Sadly we cannot embed the video here, but you can watch it here.

Like most of the film, shooting this scene was an arduous task as it required DiCaprio and cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki aka Chivo to enter the freezing waters.

Inarritu wanted to shoot this scene in a long take (a technique that has become synonymous with the director) to make the audience aware of the struggle and the claustrophobia that DiCaprio's character faces as he tries to save himself from the tribes. The filmmaker shot the scene in two different locations.

"The first part of the scene was shot in the Bow River, two hours from Calgary. We found this cave that was a natural formation. It was perfect because it allowed us to have Hugh hidden there. But at the same time, he was exposed enough to be found by the Arikaras. It facilitated a way to have him drag himself into the water in one movement." said Inarritu.

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"When we go into the action scene of the river swallowing him, we had to do that in the north of Montana. We had to find a river that would allow us to be safe in the production, but at the same time show the danger. It took a huge amount of time location scouting to find a river that would match geographically and at the same time allow us technically to do the job," he further added.

Lastly, Inarritu said that he cherished the experience of making the film, despite the difficulties they faced while shooting for it.

"I would not do anything different. That was the journey we embarked on. It’s like when you go to the Arctic, you cannot expect to be warm. Now, did I expect it to be so hard? No. Now that I’ve done it, I feel so proud to have survived it," the filmmaker said.

And after watching the film, we can only nod our heads in unison.

The New York Times' YouTube channel has an amazing collection of videos which sees several Oscar nominated directors including Adam McKay (The Big Short) and George Miller (Mad Max Fury Road) share insights on how they shot a much talked about scene for the film.


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