This Christmas Day, Leonardo DiCaprio graces our screens in The Revenant, the wilderness epic that is likely to propel the Hollywood actor to the forefront of the Oscars race.
Indeed, over the past months, Alejandro González Iñárritu's movie has raised quite the commotion in telling the true story of 19th century fur trapper Hugh Glass, whose life hung by a thread when he was mauled by a bear and left for dead in a frozen wasteland by his fellow explorers.
If you haven't set eyes on Leo's hard-hitting performance in the trailer yet, here it is once again:
And as the cast and crew bring their promotional tours in anticipation of The Revenant's release to a close, gob-smacked audiences continue to be startled at the unbelievable stories of the endurance and determination required to bring this feature to life – in particular, Leo's own words have been the most hard-hitting in comparing the filming process to a "living hell."
Not only has the actor admitted to sleeping in a rotting animal carcass and eating vomit-inducing bison liver, but also almost catching deadly hypothermia as he submerged himself into freezing waters for scenes almost daily. Ultimately, DiCaprio came away from the project with the following conclusion:
"This was the most difficult film I think that any of us had done."
"If a cat has nine lives, I think I’ve used a few"
Yet, following a recent interview for Wired magazine, it appears that although The Revenant was physically and emotionally taxing, it wasn't the first time that Leo had been put through his paces in life.
In fact, the actor admitted that he has almost died a whopping three times in the past. So much so, that's he's garnered himself quite the reputation amongst his close friends:
"My friends have named me the person they least want to do extreme adventures with, because I always seem to be very close to being part of a disaster. If a cat has nine lives, I think I’ve used a few."
Indeed, today the actor should count himself lucky to be alive, if the following three nightmarish brushes with death are anything to go by:
1. That time he survived a shark attack
Diving off the coast of South Africa, Leo was left horrified when a great white shark jumped into his cage. He revealed:
"Half its body was in the cage, and it was snapping at me."
Describing how this turn of events came about to be, he continued:
"A wave came and the tuna sort of flipped up into the air. A shark jumped up and grabbed the tuna, and half its body landed inside the cage with me. I sort of fell down to the bottom and tried to lie flat. The great white took about five or six snaps an arm’s length away from my head. The guys there said that has never happened in the 30 years they’d been doing it."
After a while, apparently the monster managed to flip itself back out again, leaving Leo alive to tell the tale. Terrifying!
2. That time his plane's engine exploded
As if that shark story weren't crazy enough, the actor also revealed a nerve-racking time when his plane suffered a very severe malfunction:
"Then there was this Delta Airlines flight to Russia. I was in business class, and an engine blew up in front of my eyes. It was right after “Sully” Sullenberger landed in the Hudson. I was sitting there looking out at the wing, and the entire wing exploded in a fireball."
"I was the only one looking out at the moment this giant turbine exploded like a comet. It was crazy. They shut all the engines off for a couple of minutes, so you’re just sitting there gliding with absolutely no sound, and nobody in the plane was saying anything."
Thankfully, the pilots were able to start the engines back up, performing an emergency landing safely in JFK airport. Phew!
3. That time his parachute didn't open during a skydive
The final account that Leo relayed is everyone's absolute worst nightmare. During a tandem dive, the chutes got all knotted up, leaving the actor and his dive partner plummeting to their deaths at an immeasurable speed. DiCaprio revealed:
"It was a tandem dive. We pulled the first chute. That was knotted up. The gentleman I was with cut it free. We did another free fall for like another 5, 10 seconds. I didn’t even think about the extra chute, so I thought we were just plummeting to our death. He pulled the second, and that was knotted up too. He just kept shaking it and shaking it in midair, as all my friends were, you know, what felt like half a mile above me, and I’m plummeting toward earth."
Thankfully, his partner managed to find a solution to the imminent disaster:
"He finally unravels it in midair. The fun part was when he said, “You’re probably going to break your legs on the way down, because we’re going too fast now.” So after you see your whole life flash in front of your eyes—twice—he says, “Oh, your legs are going to get broken too.”
Luckily, when they collided with the ground, both men miraculously walked away severely bruised but with no broken legs.
When asked whether Leo still skydives, the actor shook his head:
"No. No, I do not."