It’s been a well-publicized fact that the production of The Revenant was a physically and emotionally brutal experience. Conditions were incredibly harsh for everybody involved. However, at least one actor was able to keep his sense of humor throughout it all. Tom Hardy apparently kept himself entertained by regularly swearing at one of his co-stars.
Joshua Burge played the role of Stubby Bill in Alejandro Inarritu's film that won Leonardo DiCaprio his first Academy Award. In a recent appearance on the I Was There Too podcast, Burge spoke about a regular interaction that he would have with Tom Hardy which appears to have helped both actors get through the grueling shoot.
Him and I always had a call and response that we always did. Any time Tom and I would see each other on set, or we’d be passing each other in the makeup room — whatever — he’d always, in character, "Fuck you, Stubby Bill." And then I would respond "Goddammit, Fitzgerald." And this would happen 20-30 times a day on set.
Apparently every time the two actors passed each other, this verbal exchange would occur. Not only would this have entertained the two of them, we have to imagine it would have been quite entertaining to those who witnessed it every time the two passed each other. It’s one of those things that would have gone from funny, to possibly annoying, and then back to funny as they just kept doing it.
You’d think that eventually one or both of them would have just gotten tired of it and the joke would have faded away. Not only did that not happen, but it seems like Tom Hardy was truly committed to the whole thing. At one point Joshua Burge says he wasn’t really paying attention when Tom Hardy gave him the normal setup. When Burge didn’t respond, Hardy felt the need to go up to him later and talk to him about it. He was apparently actually upset he didn’t get a response. According to Burge, Hardy said to him later:
"Listen man. If you don’t say Goddammit Fitzgerald, it doesn’t work." .
You can listen to Burge tell the story in the podcast below, around 37:30:
We’re sure Tom Hardy just felt awkward randomly swearing at his co-star and not getting any sort of response. Anybody who wasn’t in on the joke probably thought Tom Hardy was just a dick. There are certainly crazier ways for a couple of people to entertain themselves on a movie set. We’re glad both were able to survive The Revenant with their sanity intact. From everything that’s been said that, wasn’t easy to do.