Ant shortage, mechanical horses challenged animal trainer on 'The Revenant'

CALGARY - A hellish shoot in the Canadian wilderness described repeatedly by "The Revenant" actor Leonardo DiCaprio wasn't exactly a walk in the woods for the film's veteran animal trainer either.

See Full Article

The film has received a leading 12 nominations for the Oscars coming up at the end of the month, including a nod for best picture and best actor for DiCaprio, who plays real-life frontiersman Hugh Glass.

Parts of the film were shot in British Columbia and in Kananaskis Country southwest of Calgary.

For John Scott, who has been working for 45 years on movies and TV shows such as "Unforgiven," "Lord of the Rings" and "Days of Heaven," securing animals required for the film was a challenge. He needed to find horses, wild boar, buffalo, a turkey vulture and even ants - which presented a problem of its own.

"There's lots of ant piles here in summer, but then it was wintertime so we had to fly them in from Toronto and Oregon," Scott said in an interview.

"They come in vials of about 25 to a vial. I had 300 vials in the first shipment and I think I had about 500 in the second shipment. It was cold and they don't last too long in the cold."

Scott, who is based out of Longview, Alta., was working on the film long before production began and found the site in Kananaskis Country. He said it's one of the hardest movies he's worked on since "Heaven's Gate" in 1978.

Because of the dangers involved, he had to find ways to make sure the animals remained safe.

"The horse going over the cliff? We had to make a mechanical horse and then we had to get a stuffed horse for the bottom of the cliff," Scott explained.

"We had to get a prosthetic buffalo made, and they're all expensive. They're all over $20,000."

It's some of the attention the movie has received more recently that has the veteran trainer shaking his head. DiCaprio has commented about seeing the "terrifying" effects of climate change while he was in Alberta filming "The Revenant."

The Hollywood star and environmental activist was quoted in Vanity Fair as saying that, while in Calgary, "there would be eight feet of snow, and then all of a sudden a warm gust of wind would come" - something locals have referred to as chinooks for centuries.

"I can't believe he came up with that. As an actor, when he turns the switch on, he's a great actor, but his thoughts about common life leave quite a bit to be desired," Scott said.

"Talking about global warming and the chinooks ... he just doesn't realize what he's talking about."



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • Memorable moments you didn't see at the SAG Awards

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- While actors are accustomed to being on camera, not every starry moment at the Screen Actors Guild Awards makes the screen. Here's a look at some of the celebrity exchanges that took place off-camera: Source
  • Singer Ed Sheeran announces engagement on Instagram

    Entertainment CTV News
    Ed Sheeran has announced his engagement to girlfriend Cherry Seaborn. The Grammy-winning singer posted a picture of the two on his Instagram page Saturday morning saying the two got engaged right before the new year. Source
  • Kid Rock donates merchandise money for voter registration

    Entertainment CTV News
    DETROIT - Kid Rock has donated about US$122,000 from sales of merchandise promoting his potential U.S. Senate campaign to a voter-registration organization. The Detroit-area rocker, whose real name is Robert Ritchie, teased the public for months. Source
  • 'Hobbit' director Peter Jackson making First World War documentary

    Entertainment CTV News
    LONDON -- "The Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson is going from Middle Earth to the Western Front, transforming grainy black-and-white footage of World War I into 3-D colour for a new documentary film. Source
  • 'Executed' North Korean pop diva takes Olympic spotlight

    Entertainment CTV News
    PYONGYANG, Korea, Democratic People's Republic Of -- Just a few years ago, she was reportedly executed by a North Korean firing squad. Now, Pyongyang's top pop diva is a senior ruling party official and a surprise headliner in the run-up to the South Korean Winter Olympics. Source
  • Here are this year's possible Canadian Oscar nominees

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- From a Toronto visual effects team that helped create a merman, to a veteran Toronto actor who saved a historical drama, and a Quebec director's visually stunning sci-fi sequel -- Canada has some serious contenders heading into Tuesday morning's unveiling of this year's Oscar nominations. Source
  • 'This Is Us,' 'Veep' casts take top SAG TV series awards

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- "This Is Us" won the top drama series trophy at Sunday's Screen Actors Guild Awards, making up for the Emmy and Golden Globe honours that eluded it and taking a stand for broadcast network TV amid growing online competition. Source
  • Morgan Freeman accepts life achievement honours at SAG Awards

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Morgan Freeman first stood on a stage when he was 8 years old, playing Little Boy Blue in a pageant. That's when he knew he wanted to be an actor. More than seven decades later, the now 80-year-old Freeman accepted a lifetime achievement award Sunday from the Screen Actors Guild for the much larger roles he's played in his career, including his Oscar-winning performance in "Million Dollar Baby. Source
  • Women will lead a SAG Awards show unlike any in its history

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- The Screen Actors Guild Awards will make their mark on this year's Oscars race on Sunday, but it will be the treatment of women in Hollywood and beyond that will remain at the forefront. Source
  • Rockwell, Janney, Kidman among SAG Awards winners

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- The Screen Actors Guild Awards is tipping the scales for some Oscar hopefuls with a best actor win for Gary Oldman for his transformation into Winston Churchill for "Darkest Hour" and supporting actor wins for "I, Tonya's" Allison Janney and Sam Rockwell for his role in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri. Source