‘The Revenant’ Director: “As Filmmakers, Sometimes You Are God”

Project Casting

The director of The RevenantAlejandro G. Inarritu starring Leonardo DiCaprio reveals what it took to make The Revenant and what it’s like to make an epic movie.

  • The Revenant movie went over budget for a ton of reasons.

  • The Revenant director reveals why he casted Leonardo DiCaprio for the lead role.

  • Leonardo DiCaprio had to leave The Revenant to film The Wolf of Wall Street. 

  • “As filmmakers, sometimes you are god, and sometimes you are a creature of the thing. In a way you have to be humble to hear what’s going on and see the transformation” – Alejandro G. Inarritu

Alejandro G. Inarritu’s latest movie, The Revenant is probably one of the most controversial movies he has ever made. Over the past few weeks reports have surfaced regarding set horrific set conditions for The Revenant that forced many crew members to quit and even Leonardo DiCaprio called the movie one of the hardest movies he has has ever worked on.

The Revenant’s Budget Problem

The Revenant
The Revenant

The Revenant’s budget was set at $60 million, but according to producers “it wasn’t based on any reality, no one had done any location scout or production schedule, it was just lawyers making a deal,” explained New Regency president and CEO Brad Weston. “We believed in it. … Along the way, it was a living, breathing movie.” Endlessly supportive, he said of Inarritu, “Every single creative decision he’s made has made the film better. … Great directors make great movies. Executives don’t.”

 Alejandro G. Inarritu revealed what made this movie different and why the movie went over budget.

“There hasn’t been one day of The Revenant that hasn’t been difficult or challenging,” Inarritu admitted during the Producers’ Masterclass panel, held Saturday at New York City’s Time Warner Center. “This is the most ambitious project of my life, on many levels.”

Alejandro G. Inarritu continued by saying, “when you don’t know what you want and you don’t know how to get it,” “when you know what you want but you don’t know how to get it,” and his reason for trying not to compromise.

“We all knew what we wanted, we knew how to get it, but every obstacle was in the way [of what] we needed, and we knew what we needed. … No scene was added, everything was written, but we were just trying to accomplish what we had from the beginning.”

The Revenant Director

Alejandro G. Inarritu: “As filmmakers, sometimes you are god”

One of the biggest challenges for the movie was the fact that Inarritu decided to film the movie sequentially, something that is a no-no in major motion pictures. But, The Revenant director defended his filmmaking himself comparing himself to God.

“That’s the only way I understand the story and the characters, and that’s the way I leave the story room to grow and understand it, and make changes to suddenly what is required to do. As filmmakers, sometimes you are god, and sometimes you are a creature of the thing. In a way you have to be humble to hear what’s going on and see the transformation … even when it costs a little more. I’m not investing in visual effects, but emotional effects, and I think actors understand the emotions better when it’s chronological.”

Why Alejandro G. Innaritu cast Leonardo DiCaprio for the lead role

Alejandro G. Innaritu said he casted DiCaprio as Hugh Glass because of DiCaprio’s age and ability to remain in character throughout the entire production process. Even though production was paused so DiCaprio could film The Wolf of Wall Street, Innaritu felt DiCaprio’s philanthropic efforts toward environmental issues demonstrated the actor’s personal commitment to the role.

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