Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s The Revenant has picked up early Oscar buzz ahead of its Christmas Day release, but some viewers and Academy voters could be put off by the film’s brutal violence — according to a report from early screenings, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Hugh Glass gets raped and nearly mauled to death by a bear.
In an early scene in the gory survival-revenge film, DiCaprio’s character is mauled by a bear and left for dead. According to the Drudge Report, the bear flips DiCaprio onto his stomach and “thrusts and thrusts during the explicit mauling.”
“He is raped – twice!” Drudge reported.
Later in the film, DiCaprio is reportedly forced to slice open a horse and sleep inside its carcass to shelter himself from the elements.
The Drudge Report included a link to an early audience report from the entertainment website Showbiz411, which claimed that the bear “dry humped” DiCaprio’s character.
In an interview with Yahoo Movies last month, DiCaprio said that filming the bear scene was “pretty agonizing to do.”
“[Those scenes] — amongst many other sequences — were some of the more difficult things I’ve ever had to do in my entire career,” the 41-year-old actor told Yahoo. “But the end result is going to be one of the most immersive experiences audiences will ever have with what it would be like to come face-to-face with an animal of that magnitude that is incredibly primal. It is absolutely startling and shocking, and it is the closest thing to documentary filmmaking — but in a completely stylized way that a lot of people never experienced.”
According to The Hollywood Reporter, several audience members walked out of a pre-Thanksgiving Academy screening of The Revenant due to the violence. The film’s level of brutality could affect its award-season chances, as well as the award chances for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, if viewers and Academy members are put off by the violence.
DiCaprio will look to take home his first Best Actor Oscar for his work in the film. He has previously been nominated three times for Best Actor (The Aviator, Blood Diamond, The Wolf of Wall Street) and once for Best Supporting Actor (What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?)
The Revenant is in theaters December 25.
UPDATE: Fox issued a statement to Entertainment Weekly on Tuesday denying that a bear rapes DiCaprio’s character in the film: “As anyone who has seen the movie can attest, the bear in the film is a female who attacks Hugh Glass because she feels he might be threatening her cubs. There is clearly no rape scene with a bear.”