Alejandro G. Iñárritu calls The Revenant's success a 'happy accident,' admits he was 'irresponsible'

"I can feel now how far I was from reality when I was deciding how this was to be made"

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

Amidst its critical acclaim, box office success and flood of Oscar nominations (it leads this year's tally with 12), it's suddenly difficult to recall a time when The Revenant could very easily have flopped just as much as it succeeded.

Now, with just over a week to go until the ceremony, the film's director Alejandro G. Iñárritu has spoken candidly about the film that has so far won him a Golden Globe, DGA and BAFTA award.

"I would say the film is a happy accident of a very bad decision," he admitted to Rolling Stone. "It's the result of an irresponsible decision that I made.

"But we need that sometimes – to be naive, blind from reality."  

He continued: "I mean, I'm not an idiot – I knew how difficult it would be. But I can feel now how far I was from reality when I was deciding how this was to be made."

Acknowledging the troubled shoot in the Canadian Rockies, the Oscar-winning Birdman filmmaker said: "I'm glad that I did that irresponsible decision, but it could have been really bad. You know what I mean? Like when you climb Mount Everest and nobody dies, but we were so close! It's that feeling of relief."

The film's star Leonardo DiCaprio reasoned that his director just wanted "a Fitzcarraldo experience," referring to Werner Herzog's notoriously troubled 1982 film, shot in the Amazon.

"He wanted to go into the heart of darkness and not only film nature, but really immerse himself in a completely transformative experience."

In allusion to The Hollywood Reporter panel he recently participated in alongside his directing peers, Iñárritu brought up a moment which saw Ridley Scott (The Martian) reflect upon shooting Gladiator five minutes from a London airport. 

"...He looked at me and said, in an ironic and humorous way, 'You don't have to go places to make the film look like they are in those places.' And I absolutely disagree. Because it shows...that's available. I didn't create it - I just captured it. And how I did it? I just put a f*cking camera down and I stayed 11 months freezing my ass to capture that f*cking thing."

"I didn't invade the f*cking screen with pixels and electronics."

Who knows? Perhaps rewatching the film in the mindset that it evaded becoming the stinker of our generation makes it even more impressive.

The Oscars take place in LA on Sunday 28 February.