The term "revenant" typically describes a returning vengeful spirit. Indeed, Leonardo DiCaprio’s upcoming film, The Revenant will be filled with enough righteous indignation to satisfy the most vengeance-thirsty of moviegoers. Two photos have been released giving us our very first look at DiCaprio as real life early-19th century American fur trapper, Hugh Glass, whose famous survival ordeal involved fighting a bear, makeshift medicine and an insane 200 mile trek through hostile elements. Here's one of them...
The Revenant also co-stars Tom Hardy and Domhnall Gleeson. In a scoop by Entertainment Weekly, the above photo shows us an uncharacteristically rugged, dirty-looking (though still not quite repugnant) DiCaprio in full wild man beard with brown lines of wrinkles on his face as he takes aim at something likely with claws and teeth with a flintlock rifle. He even appears to have put on some weight, adding to the mountain man mystique he'll need to bring.
The film is currently shooting in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which is averaging nighttime lows of 9 whole degrees. Additionally, many of the shooting locations have essentially been left untouched by man and can only be shot a few hours at a time, making it a cinematographically-challenging film to shoot for both actor and director, especially given the cutting edge parameters that the Birdman director, Alejandro González Iñárritu is looking to employ. DiCaprio’s character, Hugh Glass, was clearly a walking tank of testosterone and as we can see, the production has done a pretty good job in reflecting that in his rustic visage. That dandy, Jack Dawson would have lasted about two minutes in this ordeal before the Arikaree Indians started playing "My Heart Will Go On" with a flute made from his femur.
As the legend goes, Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) was scouting ahead of his party in a fur-trapping expedition on August of 1823, when he ran into a grizzly bear mother in full beast mode, protecting her two cubs. After the animal knocked his rifle away, Glass would engage in a bloody melee armed only which his knife, resulting in him sustaining horrific injuries like a broken leg and a bodily gash that left exposed ribs. Glass’s late-arriving companions would find him lying unconscious on top of the dying bear, who they would put out of her misery.
However, that would only be the beginning of Glass’ courageous crucible.
(Mild spoiler alert, if you'd rather not know too many specifics about Glass's story before you see the film.)
Two of his companions -- who were supposed to either nurse him back to health, or give him the dignity of a proper burial -- named John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) and Jim Bridger (Will Poulter) would abandon Glass for some reason, leaving him to die a slow, painful death. However, what they failed to take into account, was that Glass was a badass on unfathomable levels and he not only survived, but he makes a 200 mile trek across present day South Dakota to reach the Fort Kiowa settlement on the Missouri River, all while dealing with a broken leg that he would have to set himself and festering wounds that he would have to cure with MacGyver-like makeshift improvisation.
This is quite a fascinating project for DiCaprio, who will continue to break new ground in his career in this vengeance/survival-themed cinematic epic. The Revenant is currently set to hit theaters on January 8, 2016.