How it is filmed: Survivor

How this is filmed: "Survivor"

Another attempt by Leonardo DiCaprio to take an Oscar: this year he is again among the nominees for the prestigious award among the performers of male first-order roles for the film Survivor.

Furious discussions do not fade around the Survivor, and we propose to find out how the most extreme film of the year was created: the weather mocked the group, the bear ate DiCaprio, Lyubetski worked with natural light and wide-angle optics, and Inarritu quoted Tarkovsky.1

Back in 2001, screenwriter and producer Akiva Goldsman (in his filmography - I Am Legend) and Hancock, conceived of the novel by Michael Panke about a hunter who survived a grizzly attack. For various reasons, the production of the painting was delayed for more than ten years. During this time, the script was completely rewritten several times, new producers Steve Golin (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind) and Arnon Milchen (Fight Club) came, directors Pak Chan Uk and John Hilcoat, as well as actors Samuel L. Jackson and Christian Bale.2

Only in 2011, Alejandro González Inarritu, Leonardo DiCaprio and Sean Penn were attached to the film. At the same time, preproduction began.However, due to other projects (including Birdman and the search for funding, the launch of the painting was postponed. As a result, Penn did not wait for work, and Tom Hardy took his place.3

Started in September 2014, the shooting was planned to be completed in 7 months. But it was not there. The adaptation of the test history of one person was almost an equally severe test for the whole group. The speed of the work process was primarily affected by the method chosen by the authors in chronological order (this also automatically added $ 7 million to the estimate).4

The approach, according to Inarritu, was to correspond to the smooth transition of nature from autumn to winter, and in addition, to help actors convey the evolution of the borderline mental state of their heroes. However, the weather conditions turned out to be unpredictable: where the authors expected to catch autumn, they were met by snowstorms with severe frosts, but when winter was needed, butterflies appeared everywhere and flowers bloomed. Because of this, the team had to turn around shooting several times and look for other locations.5

By the way, in interviews, the authors often call the group and equipment moving to the location of the filming the biggest problem.Suitable locations were off the beaten path, and only helicopters delivered daily at least 40% of the time.6

Of all the things that went on in the film, Leonardo DiCaprio didn’t have a bear, and he didn’t have to sleep inside the horse. He did the rest in fact: he walked in wet rags at -25 °, got used to hypothermia, went horseback, ate raw fish and bison liver, kindled a fire without matches, shot two hundred years old weapons, memorized remarks in the language of the Indians. DiCaprio also insisted on being filmed in one of the most dangerous scenes of the film - rafting down an icy mountain river. Five doublers replaced the actor only at the moments of passing the rapids.7

However, according to DiCaprio, the biggest test for him was the appearance - it took 4-5 hours every day for plastic makeup that transmitted injuries. And the beard, which had to grow six months, terribly interfered with bad weather and required careful maintenance.8

It was decided to shoot the Survivor exclusively on real locations without pavilions and using chroma key. The shooting took place on twelve main sites in three countries on two continents.Extensive geography was forced.9

Most of the scenes were captured in Canada, and the Rocky Mountains, Fortress Mountain, Castle Rock volcano, the Bowe River, the Squamish Valley with rain forests and the Canadian wastelands safely hit the shot. For extreme river surveys, the group moved to the USA, Montana, on the Kootenay River. Its flow is not as dangerous as it was in Canadian rivers, and the water is warmer.10

As time went by summer, and in North America there was nowhere to find the necessary winter conditions, the group moved to South America - to Tierra del Fuego in the very south of Argentina. The final scenes with the main characters duel were filmed there.11

By the way, just in case we will calm down zoodefenders: during the shooting no animal was injured, and all the dead animals in the frame were not real and were made by hand. This also applies to the eaten bison and the spotted horse, inside of which DiCaprio slept. The last one was actually “played” by two “horses”: on one the hero moves away from the Indians pursuing him, in the other he is laid down for the night. The animal and its entrails were made of latex.12

The Survivor was the second collaboration experience of Inarritu and the Oscar-winning double-operator, Emmanuel Lyubecki.The latter admits that shooting the film changed his life, becoming "the most severe and difficult ordeal that you have ever faced."13

Although Inarritu fundamentally declared refusing to use chromakey and visual effects, some scenes would be simply impossible without graphics. First of all, it concerns the episode with the attack of the grizzly bear. For its creation, the authors talked with zoologists and looked at dozens of creepy battles of bears and people. We stopped at a video clip in which an animal in a zoo attacks a poor fellow who favors him in an open-air cage. This documentary shooting once again convinced the authors that the scene should be shot as if in a single frame (imitated as in “Birdman”). First, it provides realism.14

It took several months for stuntmen to study, stage and master the choreography of a predator and prey. On the stage, the stage was made with the help of cables that moved DiCaprio and stuntmen who grabbed the actor where they were injured by paws and bites.15

Finally, another episode that cannot be avoided is the avalanche behind DiCaprio.It does not use graphics, as one might think. To cause an avalanche, explosives were dropped on a slope from a helicopter. Of course, this could be done only once, that is, the group had only one take. The difficulty was to achieve the synchronization of actions of a large number of people distant from each other: the crew, the actor in the frame and the crew in the helicopter.

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  • How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor

    How it is filmed: Survivor