Written by on Feb 6, 2015. Posted in On Location

Leonardo DiCaprio survival drama The Revenant films remote Alberta locations

Leonardo DiCaprio is shooting period survival drama The Revenant in remote parts of Alberta, Canada, with filmmaker Alejandro G Iñárritu. Alberta is a popular double for remote locations and stood in for Canada’s Yukon in the recent historical miniseries Klondike.

The Revenant is set in the freezing wilderness of 1820s South Dakota. DiCaprio stars as a hunter who seeks revenge when he’s robbed and left for dead by companions after a bear attack.

Iñárritu chose to shoot in such remote parts of Alberta that he and his production team mapped out a nine-month schedule to accommodate long travel times to the filming locations.

Adding to his challenges, Iñárritu has chosen to shoot using only natural light during the Canadian winter when daylight hours are already short.

“We don’t finish until the end of April or May, and we are shooting very small hours,” the filmmaker told Deadline: “It was planned this way, to be little-by-little jewel moments. That’s the way I designed the production. That was both to create intensity in these moments, as well as the climate conditions.

“We are shooting in such remote faraway locations that by the time we arrive and have to return, we have already spent 40% of the day. But those locations are so gorgeous and so powerful, they look like they have never been touched by a human being, and that’s what I needed.”

Production in Alberta is centred on Calgary, which has become a popular double for Mid-West locations. The city is home to the high-profile Fargo TV series and the Western drama Hell on Wheels, and has also been used by Christopher Nolan for both Inception and Interstellar.

Development work started in November last year on the Calgary Film Centre, Alberta's first purpose-built studio facility, that is scheduled to open later this year.

(Main page photo: Discovery Communications)


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