There are few things I like better than movies that feel like they drove the director to the edge of madness, and Alejandro Iñarritu’s The Revenant (starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy as 19th century wild west explorers) sounds like it fits the bill and then some.
According to a new piece in The Hollywood Reporter, Iñarritu is shooting the entire thing sequentially, using only natural light. AND he’s reportedly using the same seamless tracking shot technique he did in Birdman. It’s not finished yet, and the budget has apparently ballooned from $95 million to $135 million, partly because they had to move the set from Canada to Argentina in search of snow.
Multiple sources say the film started to spin out of control early on, as a major battle scene was shot over two weeks. Originally it was going to involve about 30 trappers and about as many Native Americans, but it expanded to 200 players. Leaving little time for the crew to prepare, Iñarritu decided that a naked character should be dragged along the ground. The director remembers being concerned about the actor’s genitals and laying down plastic sheeting to protect him. “I asked him several times, ‘Are you fine?’ ” says Iñarritu. Each time he asked, he says the actor replied that he was prepared to try another take. “I was super considerate because he was a nice, 22-year-old guy,” says Iñarritu. While crewmembers say the actor was in pain, Iñarritu dismisses that as “a lie.” [The Hollywood Reporter]
If you had told me 10 minutes ago that I could have a bigger boner for a DiCaprio/Tom Hardy movie from the director of Birdman than I already did, I would’ve called you a liar and dragged your genitals across the ground, but here we are.
And I know “natural light,” “sequential shooting,” and director fighting with producer over insane creative demands are just the auteur equivalent of those dopey method acting stories I’m always making fun of, but God help me, they TOTALLY WORK ON ME. Alejandro González Iñarritu is going to rappel over the edge of sanity and acceptable human behavior, making enemies and alienating people, all so he can bring us an awesome movie about Leonardo DiCaprio fighting bears. So, so brave.