In the 1820s, a frontiersman, Hugh Glass, sets out on a path of vengeance against those who left him for dead after a bear mauling.
Production of The Revenant began a long time ago (possibly in a galaxy far, far away) in August of 2001, constantly getting shuffled between various different producers, writers, and directors. At one point acclaimed Korean auteur Chan-wook Park was set to direct with Samuel L. Jackson in the leading role, which would have certainly made for an intriguing movie. This isn’t meant to be a crash course in the history of getting the project off the ground, but some factual evidence that should hopefully drive home a point that the working conditions on-set of The Revenant were horrifically miserable. It really did take a group of artists beyond strongly dedicated to the material to bring this historical and astonishing tale of betrayal and survival to life.
For starters, The Revenant was filmed using all natural lighting, or to put it in simpler terms, had absolutely no electricity or special effects to manipulate the weather. Shot on location in Canada, the working conditions were intentionally anything but ideal, often leaving actors suffering for their art in below 0° temperatures. Every drop of snow, visible air from taking a breath, and any other substance that catches a character’s body is the real deal. The upside though are a plethora of committed performances in touch with the thoughts and mindset of their historical counterparts as they face complex moral quandaries.