It's Winter, and you know what that means—time for the Oscar bait! Now's the time of year when a ton of artsy and beautiful films come out, in hopes of winning that coveted Academy Award.
While there are a lot of films that have come out recently that are certainly Oscar-worthy, there's one film for me that completely blows them out of the water!
The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, isn't out yet, and already it's boasting quite a bit of Oscar buzz. The movie tells the story of 1800s American frontiersman Hugh Glass (DiCaprio), who after being mauled by a bear and left for dead, sets out to find the ones who abandoned him and killed his Native American son.
It's a historical drama film that's already getting a lot of buzz due to its realistic atmosphere and amazing performances from the cast. In fact, some are even saying that The Revenant could be the film that FINALLY gets Leo that Oscar he so deserves!
But while the spotlight is on Leo, and his potential Oscar-winning performance, he's not the only amazing actor in the film.
Tom Hardy stars opposite Leonardo DiCaprio as the scoundrel John Fitzgerald, one of the men who betrays and abandons Glass for dead. Fitzgerald also seems to be the instigator of the act, telling the others to bury Glass, and ends up killing Glass's son in the process as well.
It's pretty clear that Hardy's character is the big bad in this film, but maybe that wasn't always the case. I got a chance to talk to Mark L. Smith, one of the screenwriters of the film, and he explains how John Fitzgerald doesn't start the film off as your traditional villain character.
He's a trapper who has survived a Native American attack earlier in his life, and so he's kind of partially scalped. He's someone who is- he's almost driven by fear in a lot of ways. He's very gruff, very violent and ready to fight. But a lot of that comes from the fear that's within him, because he's always worried about something bringing the next attack on him. That drives some of his worst actions.
So it seems that John Fitzgerald is a very afraid man with a scarred past. We've seen in trailers that he doesn't seem to like Hugh Glass's Native American son. A lot of the hatred he has for Glass's son definitely stems from his fear and hatred of all Native American people.
He's not really a villain at the beginning. He's not a great guy, he's not a guy that you'd want to hang out with, but some of his logic makes sense. You understand him and can relate to him, but as the film goes by, he becomes a little darker and more of a villain.
You can read the whole interview here.
Trailers and promotional work for the film have presented Hardy's character as the bad guy, the main villain of the whole movie. This is definitely still the case, but Smith's words make me think that he doesn't exactly start off like that.
It looks like Fitzgerald will start the movie as nothing but a frightened and scarred man, perhaps with a damaged (but still existent) moral compass. He'll be sort of like the... Peter Pettigrew of the 1800s.
As for relating to him, I can understand that. While sympathizing with the guy who abandoned Leo and killed his son in cold blood isn't something I'd advise, it does sound like we'll be able to see where he's coming from in the movie.
After all, if I were partially scalped during an early part of my life, I'd probably feel some malice towards the people who did it. That certainly doesn't excuse his 'anti-Native American' attitude, but it does explain it—and shows that his character isn't just evil for the sake of being evil.
I'm very interested in what Smith meant by "as the film goes by, he becomes a little darker and more of a villain". While the focus of the film will be on Hugh Glass and his journey across the dangerous and frozen frontier, it seems that we'll get to see John Fitzgerald go on a journey of his own. A metaphorical one, at least.
So what is it that makes Fitzgerald transform into a more traditional villain? Well, seeing as how he's being presented as the mastermind behind the 'abandon Hugh Glass' plan in the trailers, I'd say it has a lot to do with that.
He probably let's his fear get the best of him, leading to him "killing" Glass and covering up the death. As we've seen in every movie ever, the character keeping a dark secret is usually very paranoid and nervous. Considering that Fitzgerald supposedly starts the film off as a panicky and cowardly character, it can only get worse for him.
In the trailer for the film, we see John attempt to kill Glass. and leave thinking he's succeeded. Obviously he hasn't, and we hear in the trailer that he eventually figures this out—causing him to become even more afraid.
I love the kinds of villains that are less of a threatening and powerful force, and more of a frightened and cowardly antagonist. It makes them even more frightening, because you can't read them and you don't know what they'll do out of fear.
It'll be interesting to see just how far Fitzgerald goes to keep the details of Glass's "death" a secret, and how he reacts when he finds out that he failed to kill him.
All in all, I'm excited to see the transformations and character developments that will take place in this movie. Glass's transformation from frontiersman to dead man, and Fitzgerald's transformation from panicky coward to panicky murderous villain! I can already tell this movie's gonna come packed with a ton of different emotions!
You can check out Tom Hardy as the cowardly John Fitzgerald in The Revenant when it hits select theaters this Christmas, and everywhere January 8!