Leonardo DiCaprio is playing a fur trapper who survives in spite of terrifying odds in “The Revenant,” based on a true story, but the actor has had his own share of life-or-death experiences.
In a new interview with Wired, DiCaprio explains why “The Revenant” was the hardest film he’s ever worked on and how he’s come close to death a number of times.
“Every single day of this movie was difficult,” he says of the shoot. “It was the most difficult film I’ve ever done.”
DiCaprio elaborates that it was “physically gruelling for everybody,” but the hardest part for him was having to work in frozen rivers.
“Because I had elk skin on and a bear fur that weighed about 100 pounds when it got wet. And every day it was a challenge not to get hypothermia,” he explained.
To prevent hypothermia, there was a special heater for DiCaprio on set.
“They had this machine that they put together — it was kind of like a giant hair dryer with octopus tentacles — so I could heat my feet and fingers after every take, because they got locked up with the cold,” he said. “So they were basically blasting me with an octopus hair dryer after every single take for nine months.”
He acknowledges that not many directors were drawn to the project because of how physically difficult it would be. After Alejandro González Iñárritu (“Birdman”) was tied to the film, DiCaprio made the decision to jump in.
“I reread it and met him [Iñárritu] again, and I decided to embark on what I would characterise as more of a chapter of my life than a film commitment — because it was epic in every sense of the word,” he said.
The actor also breaks down three different times he’s come close to death, explaining why his friends have named him “the person they least want to do extreme adventures with.”
From having a great white shark jump into his cage during a diving trip in South Africa to a parachute failing to deploy during a skydiving trip, DiCaprio has faced extreme danger.
He was also once on a plane that had to make an emergency landing following an engine exploding.
“Then there was this Delta Airlines flight to Russia… I was sitting there looking out at the wing, and the entire wing exploded in a fireball,” he said. “I was the only one looking out at the moment this giant turbine exploded like a comet. It was crazy. They shut all the engines off for a couple of minutes, so you’re just sitting there gliding with absolutely no sound, and nobody in the plane was saying anything. It was a surreal experience. They started the engines back up, and we did an emergency landing at JFK.”
DiCaprio also takes a turn for the political in the interview. He explains how Al Gore helped get him involved with environmental issues, his thoughts on what companies and political leaders can do to combat climate change, and he includes a shoutout to Bernie Sanders.
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