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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

"THE REVENANT" Hits Select Theaters December 25 and Nationwide on January 8

Inspired by true events, THE REVENANT is an epic story of survival and transformation on the American frontier. 

While on an expedition into the uncharted wilderness, legendary explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) is brutally mauled by a bear, then abandoned by members of his own hunting team. Alone and near death, Glass refuses to succumb.  Driven by sheer will and his love for his Native American wife and son, he undertakes a 200-mile odyssey through the vast and untamed West on the trail of the man who betrayed him: John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy).  What begins as a relentless quest for revenge becomes a heroic saga against all odds towards home and redemption.  THE REVENANT is directed, produced and co-written by Alejandro G. Iñárritu.

Academy Award®-winning director Alejandro G. Iñárritu brings the legend of Hugh Glass to the screen with The Revenant, an epic adventure set in the unchartered 19th century American Frontier. Immersing audiences in the unparalleled beauty, mystery and dangers of life in 1823 America, the film explores one man’s transformation in a quest for survival. Part thriller, part wilderness journey, The Revenant explores primal drives not only for life itself but for dignity, justice, faith, family and home. 

Known for such films as 21 Grams, Babel and the Academy Award®-winning Best Picture Birdman, The Revenant is Iñárritu’s first historical epic.  He brings his distinctive mix of visual immediacy and emotional intimacy to a story that transports audiences to a time and place that have rarely been experienced through visceral modern filmmaking.

The film’s wilderness-based production mirrored the harsh conditions Glass and company actually lived through in the 1800s. Iñárritu and his whole cast and crew were up for all that was thrown at them, welcoming the challenges of shooting in Canada and Argentina, regions known for unpredictable weather and untouched wilds, in order to fully understand the experience of fur trappers in the early 19th century.

Iñárritu collaborated closely with Golden Globe-winning and Academy Award®-nominated actor Leonardo DiCaprio in a one-of-a-kind role as physically intense as it is emotionally raw. Along with BAFTA-winning actor Tom Hardy and celebrated actors Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter, Iñárritu guided a diverse international and Native American cast into the unseen past. He reunited with Academy Award®-winning cinematographer Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubekzi to bring their distinctive camera style outdoors, with a camera that floats through the landscape – and gets so close-in at times the very breath of the characters is visually present.  And Iñárritu consulted closely with historical advisors to authentically explore the territorial wars with Native tribes that would later become the stuff of myth. 

Glass’s mythology began in 1823, when he was among thousands joining the fur trade, a driving new force in the US economy. It was a time when many saw the wild as a spiritual void that demanded to be tamed and conquered by the steeliest of men. And so they poured into the unknown, plying unmapped rivers, disappearing into impossibly lush forests, seeking not only excitement and adventure but also profits -- often in fierce competition with the Native tribes for whom these lands had long been home. 

Many such men died anonymously, but Glass entered the annals of American folklore by flat-out refusing to die. His legend sparked after he faced one of the West’s most feared dangers:  a startled grizzly bear.  For even the most tested frontiersmen that should have been the end.  But not for Glass. In Iñárritu’s telling of the tale, a mauled Glass clings to life – then suffers a human betrayal that fuels him to continue at any cost. In spite of tremendous loss, Glass pulls himself from an early grave – clawing his way through a gauntlet of unknown perils and unfamiliar cultures on a journey that becomes not just a search for reckoning but for redemption. As Glass moves through the frontier in turmoil, he comes to reject the urge for destruction that once drove him.   He has become a “revenant” -- one returned from the dead.

Says Iñárritu:  “Glass’s story asks the questions:  Who are we when we are completely stripped of everything?  What are we made of and what are we capable of?”

Adds Leonardo DiCaprio:  “The Revenant is an incredible journey through the harshest elements of an uncharted America.  It’s about the power of a man’s spirit. Hugh Glass’s story is the stuff of campfire legends, but Alejandro uses that folklore to explore what it really means to have all the chips stacked against you, what the human spirit can endure and what happens to you when you do endure.”

For Iñárritu The Revenant is a complete 180 from the interior world of Birdman.  Having honed in on the neuroses of current times, Iñárritu now switched all gears into a grand-scale story from the American past, with its perpetual tensions between savagery and civility, serenity and ambition.
“For over five years, this project was a dream for me,” says Iñárritu. “It’s an intense, emotional story set against a beautiful, epic backdrop that explores the lives of trappers who grew spiritually even as they suffered immensely physically. Though much of Glass’s story is apocryphal, we tried to stay very faithful to what these men went through in these undeveloped territories. We went through difficult physical and technical conditions to squeeze every honest emotion out of this incredible adventure.”

Iñárritu was fascinated by how stark peril strips us down and allows us a glimpse into what sustains us; how it can unearth things that might have remained hidden if that door to mortality had never been opened.  The mountaineer Reinhold Messner once said of facing the dangers of the wild:  “We are not learning how big we are.  We are learning how breakable, how weak, how full of fear we are.  You can only get this when you [are exposed] to great danger.”  Costume designer Jacqueline West echoes him, noting, “Glass is a character coming into touch with his own mortality, and that is a powerful thing.”

That confrontation with mortality also becomes entwined with an unusual father-son love story: that of a man who in his moment of loss becomes more devoted to life than ever. 

“The Revenant is a story of harsh survival but also one of inspirational hope,” Iñárritu says.  “For me, the important part was to convey this adventure with a sense of wonder and discovery, as an exploration of both nature and human nature.” 

Producer Steve Golin observes:  “Alejandro always brings truth to whatever he does.  There’s a grittiness to his work, but there’s also a spiritual element to his work – and in The Revenant that makes for a potent combination we haven’t seen in this way before.”  

20th Century Fox and New Regency present The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, Forrest Goodluck, Paul Anderson, Kristoffer Joner, Joshua Burge and Duane Howard. The film is directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu and the screenplay is written by Mark L. Smith and Iñárritu, based in part on Michael Punke’s novel. Producers are Iñárritu, Arnon Milchan (12 Years A Slave, Gone Girl), Steve Golin (Babel, True Detective), Mary Parent (Godzilla, Noah), Keith Redmon and James Skotchdopole (Birdman, Django Unchained); executive producers are James Packer (The Lego Movie), Jennifer Davisson (The Ides of March), David Kanter (Rendition) and Brett Ratner (X-Men: Last Stand). The filmmaking team includes two-time Academy Award®-winning director of photography Emmanuel “Chivo” Lubezki, ASC/AMC (Gravity, Birdman); production designer Jack Fisk (There Will Be Blood); editor Stephen Mirrione, A.C.E. (The Hunger Games); visual effects supervisor Rich McBride (Gravity); and costume designer Jacqueline West (The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button).


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