20th Century Fox, Getty
If you haven’t realized it yet, Leonardo DiCaprio is really pulling out all the stops to try and win his first Academy Award.
The five-time Oscar nominee (and zero-time winner) has done everything from moving us with his portrayal of a mentally impaired young boy in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape” to blowing us away with his range in films for master director Martin Scorsese. Though these parts have punched his Oscar ticket, he’s always left the ceremony empty-handed.
So with Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “The Revenant,” he’s going the shock-and-awe route.
Set in the rugged US frontier of the 1800s, the movie has DiCaprio playing a fur trader who is mauled by a bear and left for dead. His drive for revenge is the only thing that keeps him from dying out in the wilderness.
DiCaprio suffered freezing conditions to play the role, but the actor wanted to go a step further. In one scene, his character, Hugh Glass, comes across a recently killed buffalo. He begins to eat its liver, raw. He dry-heaves while chewing on the blood-soaked organ, the first solid food he’s had in days.
According to Clay Landry, who was the historical and wilderness technical adviser on the film, and who was on the set when the scene in question was shot, DiCaprio really did eat raw bison liver.
“The props guys had come up with an artificial bison liver [for the scene],” Landry told Business Insider. “They showed me a picture of it, it was made up of protein bars. It looked real to me.”
But then a few days before the scene was to be shot, word came down that plans had changed.
“Leo had talked it over and they were going to use a real liver,” Landry told BI.
DiCaprio briefly talked about the liver-eating scene to Yahoo Movies in October. “When you see the movie, you’ll see my reaction to it, because Alejandro kept it in. It says it all,” the actor said.
Landry notes that the scene is true to how a frontiersman would have eaten a buffalo back in the 1800s.
“Bison liver would be one of the first things that a real mountain man would eat when he killed a buffalo,” he said. “He would eat it raw because it was good food for him and nutritious.”
When asked how he thought DiCaprio took on the scene, Landry said:
“That was quite impressive.”
We’ll see if Oscar voters feel the same.
“The Revenant” opens in limited release Christmas Day and everywhere January 8.