The 'Gravity' Cinematographer Has Something Even Crazier Planned for Filming 'The Revenant'

The 'Gravity' Cinematographer Has Something Even Crazier Planned for Filming 'The Revenant'

Jan 21, 2015

Today Entertainment Weekly unveiled the first image of Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, directed by Birdman's Alejandro González Iñárritu. And while it's cool to see the normally clean-shaven DiCaprio all grizzled up for this period piece about a frontiersman who seeks revenge against the men who left him to die after a bear attack, the image is far from the most interesting part of the story.

The Revenant is being shot by Emmanuel Lubezki, the boundary-pushing cinematographer behind the distinctive looks of movies like Children of Men, Gravity, and most recently Iñárritu's own Birdman. And while Lubezki is known for being the master of long, complicated shots, he and his Birdman director have given themselves a different challenge on this movie. They're only shooting it using available lighting.

That may not sound that insane at first, but keep in mind that The Revenant is currently filming deep in the icy north of Calgary, where temperatures are regularly in the single digits this time of year. And since they're only using natural lighting, that means they can only actually film the movie for a few hours every day. This explains why Tom Hardy, who plays one of the men who abandoned DiCaprio, wouldn't be done filming in time for Suicide Squad to start shooting and thus had to drop out of that project.

To sum it all up, Iñárritu had this to say to EW: “It’s a very experimental thing that we’re doing here… I’m now addicted to doing things that can fail horribly or maybe that can give us a surprise. We are all into it.”

We're guessing that with Lubezki -- one of the greatest cinematographers alive -- behind the camera, this experiment will not only succeed, but it'll look incredible in the process. But we're also betting that the accountants at New Regency are keeping a very, very close eye on just how many months it takes to actually film this thing. If all goes to plan, it should be in theaters on December 25, 2015.





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