How The Bear Scene In 'The Revenant' Came To Be
Leonardo DiCaprio's newest movie The Revenant has already made waves for a few reasons. For starters, DiCaprio's remarkable performance as 19th-century explorer Hugh Glass has critics speculating that Leo might finally win an Oscar. Secondly, the movie reportedly had a remarkably difficult shoot, including subzero temperatures, scheduling and location issues, and alleged on-set drama. Finally, the film is brutal in its depiction of the suffering of Glass, including a scene of a bear attack which sparked some disturbing rumors on Twitter about Th e Revenant a few weeks ago. So, what's the real deal with that scene? What actually happens on-screen, and perhaps more importantly, how did the bear attack scene in The Revenant come to be?
For a while, director Alejandro G. Iñárritu kept pretty quiet about the mechanics of the scene, dangling enticing details while withholding the actual pertinent information. DiCaprio joined in on the teasefest, saying coy things to Yahoo like, "I’m not going to give any specifics on how we did it — you’ll figure it out on your own." Um, Leo, I've watched you freeze to death on-screen. Don't be cute with me.
Thankfully, more information has been released in the past few weeks, which paints a pretty clear picture of how the scene came to life. Below are some of the steps that went into the process.
The Director Watched Footage Of Real Bear Attacks
At a panel with the L.A. Times, DiCaprio ssaid that Iñárritu watched over 100 different clips of actual bear attacks before setting a strategy for the scene. The panel also revealed that the director spoke with filmmaker Werner Herzog, who offered guidance for the scene based on his own experiences filming the documentary Grizzly Man.
The Scene Was Carefully Choreographed
DiCaprio gave a few tidbits to Yahoo Movies about how the scened was filmed, saying that "it involved cables, it involved me flying around the forest, and it involved a tremendous amount of rehearsal. And it was pretty agonizing to do." The difficulties of shooting on location in nature, compounded by the fact that, according to The New York Times, it was raining that day, made the sequence even more challenging to capture on film.
There Were Both Real And CGI Elements
Variety reports that, ultimately, what we see on-screen as the bear in The Revenant is CGI. However, DiCaprio's physicality on-screen is real; he tussled with stuntmen who served as stand-ins for the bear so that the struggle would appear more authentic.
Despite the many challenges — and the controversy — surround the bear attack scene in The Revenant, DiCaprio himself purports to be incredibly pleased with the final outcome, telling Yahoo, "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." I'm honestly not sure how many people have "Immersive Experience With Giant Terrifying Bear" written on their bucket lists, but if you happen to be one of them, you can go ahead and check that off your list if you go see The Revenant.
Images: 20th Century Fox (2), Giphy