Details surrounding the bear attack scene in The Revenant have been scarce. In fact, in a Q&A with the movie's director, Alejandro Inarritu said he didn't want to spoil the movie magic and refrained from answering the question.
But, luckily for us, we were able to find out how The Revenant made that iconic bear fight scene.
Not surprisingly, the scene didn't actually involve a real bear. But it did require a lot of CGI, of course, and a man pretending to be a bear. In fact, one of the movie's stuntmen, Glenn Ennis, told Global News, “There was no bear ever on set. The closest a bear ever got to set was at the Calgary Zoo.”
Explaining the details of the scene, Ennis says, “In rehearsals, I would wear a blue suit with a bear head. Obviously that [suit> doesn’t make it into the film, and the CGI guys paint the bear in.”
“In rehearsals, I would wear a blue suit with a bear head. Obviously that [suit] doesn’t make it into the film, and the CGI guys paint the bear in.”
The stuntman prepared endlessly for the scene, Ennis said he watched bear videos to prepare for the scene and says director Alejandro Iñárritu was big on making sure the movements matched those of a real bear. “It was essential that it had the same nuances that a bear would have. Even though it was a big Smurf bear, it still had to be as authentic as possible.”
As with any movie stunt scene, the attack was much like a choregraphed dance. However, DiCaprio, who's nominated for Best Actor in this year's Academy Awards, was not involved in a majority of the filming.
“It was his stunt double who rehearsed most of the time, but he stepped in and rehearsed a bit because there were so many parts to this big sequence that had to be learned,” says Ennis. “You couldn’t chew it in pieces, it had to be shot all at once. Leo was around somewhat, but a lot of my work was with the stunt double until we started shooting.” Interesting.
“You couldn’t chew it in pieces, it had to be shot all at once. Leo was around somewhat, but a lot of my work was with the stunt double until we started shooting.”
That being said, there was one part of the attack that required the stunt double's face to land squarely into Leonardo DiCaprio's private parts, according to Ennis. I was supposed to grab his jacket with my hand to make it look like the bear’s jaws were pulling it. In order to have the bear’s jaw in the small of his back, basically my face was in his butt,” says Ennis. “My face was in Leo’s butt for a fair bit of time. I can see how that’s someone’s fantasy, but it wasn’t mine!”
“My face was in Leo’s butt for a fair bit of time. I can see how that’s someone’s fantasy, but it wasn’t mine!”
The attack left Leonardo DiCaprio's character in pretty bad condition. It would take make up artists four and a half hours to apply make up on set.
What do you think of the iconic scene in The Revenant? Share with us your thoughts in the comments below!