Leonardo DiCaprio Says 'The Revenant' Is the Hardest Thing He's Ever Done

Leonardo DiCaprio Says 'The Revenant' Is the Hardest Thing He's Ever Done

Oct 23, 2015

Movie stars are very lucky to be paid millions of dollars to do what they do for a living, but never mistake their job for being easy or fun.

At least not all the time. 

"It was the hardest film absolutely I've ever done," Leonardo DiCaprio said of making Titanic back in 1997, in an interview with Newsweek. "Having to sit in ice-cold water all day, dunking and redunking, jumping in, jumping out and screaming at the top of my lungs. It takes a toll."  

Almost 20 years later, the actor has reached a new peak for difficult film shoots.

"I can name 30 or 40 sequences that were some of the most difficult things I’ve ever had to do," DiCaprio said of making The Revenant, in a new interview with Yahoo! Movies. "Whether it’s going in and out of frozen rivers or sleeping in animal carcasses or what I ate on set. [I was] enduring freezing cold and possible hypothermia constantly."

One of those things he ate on set is raw bison liver, which he says he certainly doesn't eat on a regular basis. "When you see the movie, you’ll see my reaction to it," he points out, "because Alejandro kept it in. It says it all. It was an instinctive reaction."

DiCaprio doesn't regret his decision to take the role, though, admitting that he knew what he was getting into and that it was an "incredibly ambitious" shoot, though it "became more of a profoundly intense chapter of our lives than we ever thought it was going to be." He says movies like these are too rare and "all I can do as a lover of film is, when I see these opportunities, to jump on them."

Fortunately for us, his endurance is our entertainment gain. Discussing a major scene where his real-life fur-trapper character is realistically attacked by a bear, he says "it was pretty agonizing to do," one of those 30-40 most difficult things in his life. But it was worth the pain and difficulty to give viewers something thrilling and also new.

"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 that is incredibly primal," DiCaprio says. "It is absolutely startling and shocking, and it is the closest thing to documentary filmmaking — but in a completely stylized way that a lot of people never experienced."

DiCaprio has been going to great measures for his craft since the beginning. Even before Titanic. Here are some other old quotes about the actor's prior difficult gigs:

The Basketball Diaries: "This movie took me places I'd never been before, acting wise. Withdrawal was the hardest thing to play. It's like being an animal, in a primal state." [Leonardo DiCaprio: Romantic Hero]

Shutter Island: "This is the most challenging one to date for me. Physically – yes, but emotionally more so. It was the nature of the material. It was obviously a complex jigsaw puzzle and it was surprising for both of us at times, and it really shocked us." [The Guardian]

J. Edgar: "I don't want to say this was the hardest role, but I would say pound for pound, for the amount of time we had to shoot this movie and the amount of things that I had to accomplish just on a character level and a personal level of what I wanted to put up on screen, this was the most challenging. Especially towards the end, with the old-age makeup, where I had to sit in the chair for six hours. And having just a couple weeks to do an incredible amount of scenes—it was some of the most challenging work I ever had to do." [Backstage]

Django Unchained: "My hand started really pouring blood all over the table. Maybe they thought it was done with special effects. I wanted to keep going. It was more interesting to watch Quentin's and Jamie's reaction off-camera than to look at my hand." [THR]

 

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