In a new interview with WIRED, actor Leonardo DiCaprio discusses the challenges of shooting Birdman director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s latest film The Revenant, which is based on the real story of a frontiersman who was left for dead in the American wilderness after a bear attack. DiCaprio also talked about his own survival stories — such as near-death experiences in the great outdoors — and about why he’s so passionate about making sure the planet can survive the devastating effects of global warming. Here are seven highlights:
• The movie was a pain to make at times, between the cameras malfunctioning in the snow and the snow melting when there was supposed to be snow in the scenes: “We had to shut down production multiple times.”
• The hardest parts for him to shoot were the ones in which he had to get into frozen rivers wearing elk skin and a bear fur “that weighed about 100 pounds when it got wet.”
• In terms of outdoorsy activities, he “loves” scuba diving. But once, during a diving trip in South Africa, he was almost attacked by a snapping shark when half a tuna fish got wedged in the cage: “The guys there said that has never happened in the 30 years they’d been doing it.”
• He also said he almost died during a skydiving trip when the first parachute malfunctioned, forcing the crew to activate a backup chute.
• And he was on the 2010 Moscow-bound Delta plane that blew an engine during takeoff at JFK airport: “…the entire wing exploded in a fireball. I was the only one looking out at the moment this giant turbine exploded like a comet.”
• After filming the 1997 movie Titanic, he says he became interested in climate change and environmental issues: “I got exposed to the wonders of nature through film—Imax documentaries and such.” He visited Al Gore at the White House to learn how he could get involved in the cause .
• In terms of favorites among the 2016 presidential candidates, he likes Senator Bernie Sanders the most because of the way he talks about environmental issues during the debates.
Revenant opens in theaters Christmas Day.
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