Where Was 'The Revenant' Filmed? No Green Screens Here, Just Crazy Nature
The word epic is thrown around a lot when it comes to movies, but one film that looks like it will live up to that designation is The Revenant , the newest venture from Birdman director Alejandro Iñárritu. The sweeping vistas in the film are causing fans to wonder where The Revenant was filmed. Unlike many modern "epics" like Lord of the Rings or Avatar, The Revenant didn't rely on CGI to create or enhance its landscapes, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Iñárritu had some very particular ideas about how he wanted to film the movie in order to get the look that he wanted. For one, he wanted to film the movie chronologically, which is highly unusual for a film and caused major delays in the shooting schedule. He also only wanted to film using natural light, which took forever since they were sometimes limited to around an hour a day, but has the payoff of making everything you see on screen provided by nature. And finally, he wanted to film in very remote locations to capture the true feel of the untouched American Frontier. So where did he go to do all of this?
Mostly Canada. Specifically, Iñárritu shot in the unpopulated wilderness of remote regions in British Columbia and Alberta. Our neighbors to the north have a lot more undeveloped land than the U.S. (Canada has 35 million people, 3 million fewer than California), meaning their forests are largely vast and unspoiled. This makes it the perfect place for Leonardo DiCaprio to eat raw bison liver, and to provide the insane but real visuals the film is destined to become known for. Iñárritu told The Hollywood Reporter about the decision to go au naturale, saying, "If we ended up in greenscreen with coffee and everybody having a good time, everybody will be happy, but most likely the film would be a piece of shit ... When you see the film, you will see the scale of it, and you will say, 'Wow.'"
But the crazy shooting schedule and locations weren't without problems. Due to the director's insistence that the film be shot in sequence, the production ended up missing out on snow in Canada for the film's snowy climax. As a result, they left Canada in search of winter, and ended up in the Tierre del Fuego region of Argentina, near the South Pole. There, Iñárritu found the white stuff he desired for the end of his film, and was able to conclude the shooting of the movie after 10 months — five months longer than originally planned.
After seeing the work that went into The Revenant to get the look and feel of the film right, I have no doubt that this movie will live up to its epic billing. It remains to be seen whether the film will earn DiCaprio his long-overdue Oscar, but at the very least it's going to be something to behold.
Images: 20th Century Fox