The Revenant

Leonardo DiCaprio recently spoke with Yahoo! Movies to promote his upcoming tale of frontier survival and revenge, The Revenant. And while the production was challenging, he explains that the sacrifices were worth it. “It’s going to be one of the most unique film-going experiences that audiences have seen in modern times,” DiCaprio said, tacitly acknowledging a debt to the more distinctive films of antiquity. When asked about his confrontation with the grizzly bear, he was tight-lipped about the process, but said the end result totally kicks ass: “[It’s] one of the most immersive experiences audiences will ever have with what it would be like to come face-to-face with an animal of that magnitude that is incredibly primal,” said the actor, as opposed to less immersive experiences of incredibly primal bear attacks.

Tactfully omitting details, he confirmed previous reports that while the actor endured, several crewmembers left the shoot over clashes on set and the difficult conditions. Among the “30 or 40 sequences” that were the most challenging of his career, DiCaprio said, were frozen river crossings, eating raw bison liver, and sleeping in animal carcasses. Of course, you can’t bring up sleeping inside stinky tundra animals without inviting comparisons to Star Wars, and so DiCaprio was asked if he is concerned about The Revenant opening so close to The Force Awakens. “There’s always room at the top,” he deflected. But even DiCaprio admits that there’s something “embedded in our cultural DNA” that hungers for hissing lightsabers, sweeping John Williams scores, imperiled smugglers, and panoramic X-Wing dogfights.

Then again, The Revenant opens a full week after The Force Awakens, on December 25, at which point most die-hard fans will have already seen the new Star Wars. And there will always be those among us who wake up on Christmas Day, survey their surroundings, and feel inspired to watch Leonardo DiCaprio get mauled by wild animals.