Revenant Producers Defend Budget & Shoot

Alejandro G. Inarritu is hard at work on the final elements of his survival epic “The Revenant,” a much anticipated film that has already been celebrated for its trailers and style as much as it has been a source of controversy due to the budgetary and scheduling nightmares that resulted from its arduous shoot.

Inarritu participated in a Producers’ Masterclass panel held yesterday at New York City’s Time Warner Center and he spoke to THR about how this is his most ambitious film to date: “Now I know how Matt Damon feels shooting The Martian… There hasn’t been one day of The Revenant that hasn’t been difficult or challenging. This is the most ambitious project of my life, on many levels.”

The film hit issues of extreme weather conditions on set and a lengthy shoot with high cast turnover, not to mention budgetary issues. Some of that was the choice of the film’s look, and the desire of the filmmaker to shoot the entire film in chronological order:

“That’s the only way I understand the story and the characters, and that’s the way I leave the story room to grow and understand it, and make changes to suddenly what is required to do. As filmmakers, sometimes you are god, and sometimes you are a creature of the thing. In a way you have to be humble to hear what’s going on and see the transformation … even when it costs a little more. I’m not investing in visual effects, but emotional effects, and I think actors understand the emotions better when it’s chronological.”

Inarritu says that the escalating budget, which started at $60 million, had nothing to do with changing the script. Said script was locked when they began filming, so many of the issues tie in with the sheer harshness and challenge of the shoot:

“Nobody will go to a film because the guys were on schedule and on budget, it’s how good the film is…. We all knew what we wanted, we knew how to get it, but every obstacle was in the way [of what] we needed, and we knew what we needed. … No scene was added, everything was written, but we were just trying to accomplish what we had from the beginning… Nobody will go to a film because the guys were on schedule and on budget. It’s how good the film is.”