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1. The Revenant is a 2015 American biographical Western film directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu set in 1823 Montana and South Dakota, which was inspired by the experiences of frontiersman and fur trapper Hugh Glass.
2. In a joint decision with cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, Inarritu has decided to shoot ‘The Revenant’ using only natural light with no artificial augmentation. It can be done. Stanley Kubrick revolutionized the technique with ‘Barry Lyndon’ in 1975.
3. The screenplay was written by Mark L. Smith and Iñárritu, based in part on Michael Punke’s The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge.
4. The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, and Domhnall Gleeson.
5. “The Revenant” is based on the real-life story of frontiersman Hugh Glass, whose story was also told in the little-seen 1971 western ‘Man in the Wilderness’, starring Richard Harris. Perhaps one could consider director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s film an unofficial remake then.
6. Development of the film began in August 2001 when Akiva Goldsman purchased Punke’s manuscript with the intent to produce the film. The film was originally set to be directed by Park Chan-wook with Samuel L. Jackson in mind to star, and later by John Hillcoat with Christian Bale in negotiations to star. Both directors left the project, and Iñárritu signed on to direct in August 2011. In April 2014, after several delays in production due to other projects, Iñárritu confirmed that he was beginning work on The Revenant and that DiCaprio would play the lead role. It is the second on-screen collaboration of Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy (the first being Inception). Principal photography began in October 2014; delays associated with location and crew challenges resulted in its end date moving from May to August 2015.
7. 20th Century Fox has gone back and forth as to whether or not to distribute this film so often that one expects their opinion to change a few more times before the Oscar-qualifying Christmas Day 2015 theatrical release.
8. “The Revenant” opened in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago on Dec. 25, 2015. The rest of the country had to wait until Jan. 8, 2016 to get their first look at Inarritu’s new film. This is known in the industry as a way to qualify a film for Academy Award consideration without committing to a wide release at year’s end.
9. The plotline is really, really serious. In short, it follows a fur trapper (DiCaprio) who is mauled by a bear and then robbed and left for dead by his supposed partners, he wills himself to live and then goes on a mission across the winter-y wilderness to seek revenge on the men who betrayed him.
10. The musical score for The Revenant was composed by Japanese musician Ryuichi Sakamoto in collaboration with The National’s Bryce Dessner and German electronic musician Alva Noto.
11. The movie is actually based on a novel of the same name by Michael Punke, which is based on a true story.
12. The team, which also includes now-legendary Birdman cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki, filmed over almost nine months in the remote Canadian wilderness, and would often have to spend almost half the day just traveling to and from locations. Iñárritu also used only natural light, which meant that they could only shoot for very small portions of the day.
13. The shoot was was long and grueling, in fact, that it forced Hardy to drop out ofSuicide Squad. He was originally supposed to play the role of Rick Flagg, but he was replaced by Joel Kinnaman after The Revenant suffered all kinds of production delays and setbacks.
14. Leonardo DiCaprio was cast to play the role of Hugh Glass partly because of his environmentalism.
15. DiCaprio started axe-throwing competitively during the shoot.