Nominated for a VFX Oscar The Revenant contains one of the most harrowing and brutal bear attack scenes ever shot on film, the realistic nature of this beast coupled with Leonardo Di Caprio’s intense acting pulled off a truly incredibly scene.
Just how did Industrial Light and Magic create something so truly remarkable, VFX supervisor Richard McBride gave us some insight recently in an interview:
“The grizzly bear mauling was conceived as “one continuous take” in a primordial-looking rain forest”
“For us, the VFX team, we wanted to keep Leo visible and also keep it kind of messy, so once we had the camera work there, we positioned our stuntman in a way that he was grabbing and pulling in all the right places where we thought the bites were gonna be. And keeping him at a distance where there would be a little less paint work in getting him in and out of the scene and having our bear on top of him. Ultimately, the paint work was extensive because of how close we were to the action.”
In the video below we see all of the prosthetics and make-up that went onto Leo during filming, using different effects as the film goes on to show his wounds healing from the dreadful attack.
Many references and research went into the study of bear attacks, online footage was coupled together and mixed with choreography to stage the attack working with pulleys to shift the actor through the attack scene. This mixed with the awkward suspense where the bear is just hovering over Leo is truly remarkable, what will the bear do next? You keep saying to yourself, the tension is nail biting.
So alot of practical effects mixed with some high end technology and we have one of the most visual and vicious attacks ever caught on film.