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January 2016

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Page 30 of 53 27 POST JANUARY 2016 O S C A R buzz ferent from the look of film lights, which are one-dimensional by comparison. They have one color and they're harsh. Because of that, even choosing locations with the right sun direction was challeng- ing, and we had over 100 locations, and the distances between them were huge and very tough in terms of getting cam- eras and all the equipment set up each time. And we had everything from huge cranes to trucks, campers and so on." You shot in Canada and Argentina. How tough was it? "It's the hardest thing I've ever done. I started scouting locations five years ago, so it took a very long time just to find all that. We were shooting for seven months near Calgary, way out in the wilderness, the weather was brutal — 30, 40 below some days. The actors and crew were all freezing all the time, frostbite was a dan- ger all the time, so it was as intense as it looks on screen. What you see is what we got. You can't fake it. Then you're also dealing with the very short winter days, and on top of that, it suddenly got too warm in Canada, which is why we had to move to Argentina for the snow." It's the most beautiful film I've seen since Barry Lyndon. Tell us about working with "Chivo" Lubezki. "We felt that while music inspired Birdman, paintings inspired this film, and for that reason we shot on film with Alexas and the brand new Alexa 65 with a lot of wide lenses to get more depth in the shots. We were the first people to use the 65 — it wasn't even approved at that time. There was no insurance. But the im- ages we got are just stunning. And to put the audience right in the movie, we shot with a lot of hand held and Steadicam, and mixed that with cranes. And we also shot it all chronologically, as I've done in all my films. That way, I feel the film tells you what it needs. Once you're there, on the shoot, you start changing and trans- forming, especially on long shoots like this. You change as a person, your mind grows, and it all feeds into the story. And I think it's some of the best work Chivo's ever done. It's really extraordinary." Where did you do the post? How long was the process? "We did it all at Lantana. We edited there and then did the sound mix at the Hitchcock stage on the lot at Universal. The post schedule was weird, as we sud- denly had to shut down the shoot at the end of March as the snow disappeared in Canada, and so then I began editing in April. And then in August I went down to Argentina to shoot the climax of the film, and then we started up again on editing and working on all the sound when I got back. So it stretched over many months." Do you like the post process? "I really love doing post, especially all the editing, and it was so warm and civilized after all the freezing cold days of the shoot. For me, editing and adding all the music and sound is like adding the third dimension of making a film. Before the editing, the film is just all these pieces of film that don't mean anything yet. So it's only when you start editing that you basically get to finally rewrite your script and find the film. And I just love that process and finding out what the film really is and means. But it's also very scary. When you do that first assembly you always have all these problems, but then little by little you begin to shape it and transform all the material you've collected. It's a lot of little steps." You've previously worked with Oscar- winning editor Stephen Mirrione on several of your films — Birdman, Biutiful, Babel, which he won a second Oscar nomination, and 21 Grams. How does that relationship work? "He came on the set with us and spent some time, and we start assembling while I'm shooting. I really love working with him because I think he's not just a very smart, accomplished editor with incredible tech- nical skills, but he's also a very sensitive The Revenant was shot under brutally-cold conditions and relied on natural lighting.

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