If you’ve seen The Revenant, you’ll know that being mauled by a bear in a forest clearing is pretty terrifying. But perhaps not quite as terrifying, at least in a sort of surrealist, Clockwork Orange sense, as being beaten up by a 6’4 man in a bright blue bear suit with hockey helmet and cutesy ears.
The man behind the VFX bear was stunt man Glenn Ennis, who watched hundreds of videos of bear attacks in order to give an authentic grizzly performance.
“In rehearsals, I would wear a blue suit with a bear head,” he told Global News. “Obviously that doesn’t make it into the film, and the CGI guys paint the bear in. Alejandro [Iñárritu] was adamant that the blue bear moved just like a real bear would move, and it was essential that it had the same nuances that a bear would have. Even though it was a big Smurf bear, it still had to be as authentic as possible.”
Ennis compared the encounter to a “cat playing with a mouse”, and indeed the film sees DiCaprio’s fur trapper Hugh Glass stand little chance against the beast, which throws him around like a rag doll.
The stunt man was also inevitably asked about that bizarre bear rape rumour.
“It was people with no life, I guess, who started that,” Ennis said. “I spent a lot of time rolling around with Leo, but it was all consensual.”
At least DiCaprio had more to work with than the Game of Thrones cast, who must pretend to lovingly stroke a long green pole during scenes with dragons.
The Revenant is in cinemas now.