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Inside 'The Revenant': Leonardo DiCaprio on the Toughest Movie He's Ever Made

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Alejandro Iñarritu, who made his name on tightly focused, relatively cheaply made character studies of people locked together by accident -- ensemble actor's movies -- seems to have suddenly made a Werner Herzog turn into a brutal action-fest that risked the lives and limbs of his expensive talent for one perfect shot a day and an Oscar for Leonardo Dicaprio.

I thought the bear scenes must have been brutal to film but geez listen to how freezing the set location was:

The first snowfall came on September 3 and there was a monster snowfall on November 28, before a pivotal scene in which the actors cross a river while under attack from Native Americans. "Everybody was freezing," says production designer Fisk. "Parts of the river were freezing over as we were shooting, and suddenly big chunks of ice were coming up over the set." It was –30 degrees.

DiCaprio was forced to get in and out of the river repeatedly, all while draped in a bearskin coat. "It absorbed about 50 pounds of water, and then it immediately froze," says DiCaprio. "Every day was a battle for myself and a lot of other people not to get hypothermia."

Iñárritu admits that it got too risky at one point. "The producers wanted to evacuate us, the actors couldn't move their lips, and I was pretending everything was all right," he says. But in a way this was the very experience Iñárritu was craving when he signed on five years earlier. "When you think about it, we have become such pussies," he says. "We are complaining because we don't have WiFi in a plane 10,000 feet from the ground. Or the coffee is cold. These guys, they found a way of living with tough conditions. Hugh Glass, surviving 200 miles after a bear attack — people can feel it's a fantasy, but it's a real thing."

Says DiCaprio: "We were supposed to do a scene with my son as he's praying for me. And it hit 40 below zero. At that point we couldn't really open our eyes. And our fingers locked together and the camera gear locked together, and I just looked at Alejandro and said, 'I'm all for enduring realism, but there comes a point when nothing is operable.' " The production was forced to break on November 29, and cameras wouldn't roll again until January 19.

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