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January 2016

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Page 33 of 53 30 POST JANUARY 2016 O S C A R buzz give in to what the planet was going to give us that day." The whole movie is shot outdoors, right? "Yes, the whole movie is outdoors with natural light. And again, that's been part of Alejandro's creative process all along. He's always shot in sequential order as much as possible, always using real locations as much as possible, because he knows that infuses the material in this way you can't exactly match that if you're shooting in front of a greenscreen or on a set. It was amazing to see how Leonardo DiCaprio's performance was affected by the environment. His perfor- mance is largely without any dialogue. Which not only means, we're not hearing him talk, but you have to also remember, that means nothing is written in the script either. All of his interior motivations, all of the looks, the journey that he's going on in his face isn't necessarily written on the page, which means he's having to do a lot of amazing work to interpret and bring that character to life without those words that's easy to take for granted. "There were these moments where he'd be in the middle of a performance and you'd suddenly hear a crow, way off in the distance. And, his reaction to those natural moments…he was reacting to the reality of that thing, and was able to do things that were so emotionally charged, based on that. We wouldn't have been able to recreate it in exactly the same way if that had been done on a sound- stage or on a set." What was your understanding of what Alejandro was looking for in the editing style on the film? "We were always very clear that we wanted this to have a very deliberate and elegant pace that we would be trying to do things with point of view in a slightly different way than we usually do. Whereas on Birdman where we really were flipping all the choices, in terms of rhythm and tempo and things like that, we knew that that wasn't going to be the case on this. But what that means is, it's a more difficult, in other words, we have a lot of sequences that are these seemingly unbroken, long take sequenc- es within the film but it's not the whole movie. The whole movie does not break that way. It's not the same kind of story that Birdman was. And when we're doing that, we have to be careful because there are times where you are, within the set, same long take, you're moving from subjecting to objective and the point of view is shifting and do so for those sequences we were trying to figure those things out as we were shooting. And then of course for the other sequenc- es, he was shooting in ways he could be flexible, but the tricky part is to not betray the language of the movie. That we don't set something up that suddenly becomes very disjointed when you watch all the way through. And, to do that, and also, structurally, I would say the movie has these moments where the power comes from just stillness and being in these open spaces and places and that's something that finding a way to do that without it becoming a repetitive — if you do that, and do it again, you still have to be careful you're not being redundant. You're not doing the same note over and over again. We had to be really careful to shape it in a way that every time we did that, there was something new — new emotional information." Any challenges? "In the film, Hugh Glass, who is our main character, is left by Tom Hardy's charac- ter, Fitzgerald, so we're following both of these characters. What's interesting with Tom Hardy's character is, he has a lot of dialogue. We learn more of his backstory. So he becomes a character you can real- ly understand his motivations a lot more. So the challenge became, how can we affect the balance between how much we understand Fitzgerald's backstory and who he is with Leo, because again, Leo doesn't have the luxury of having all these great dialogue scenes to under- stand who he is and what motivates him. "Another tricky thing for us was, we never had a chance to shoot the very first scene of the movie and the very final sequence of the movie [due to weather limitations], so, while you're on the set, during production when you're cutting, you're cutting in a way that you know that everything that comes before and everything that comes after is going to affect what you're doing at any given moment. So you don't want to go too far with making certain decisions until you've seen the movie all the way through. But that meant that we were waiting months and months trying to figure those things out without having the benefit of seeing those first and last scenes. That definitely affected the rhythm and pacing of the interior, too. We were trying not to become impatient with things because we knew, once we got that first scene of the movie, it was going to frame and inform other things that would, in a sense, fill in certain blanks. It would be very easy to watch the movie through, before we finished it, and said, 'Oh this shot is going on too long.' But when you take a step back and remember, 'Oh no, we're going to shoot a scene at the very beginning of the movie,' that kind of framed how you viewed the shot. It meant we had to be really patient before we started to cut things down. So a lot of it was spending time analyzing and figuring what we were probably going to do and then waiting to execute that until we had the whole thing in place." The film was cut with a "deliberate and elegant pace."

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