Hollywood filmmakers always appreciate buzz for an upcoming premiere, but this might be the strangest buzz ever. Matt Drudge reported this morning that The Revenant contained a scene in which a bear mauls star Leonardo DiCaprio, and then … gets a little more familiar with him:
The new movie ‘REVENANT’ features a shocking scene of a wild bear raping Leo DiCaprio!
The explicit moment from Oscar winning director Alejandro Inarritu has caused maximum controversy in early screenings. Some in the audience escaped to the exits when the Wolf of Wall Street met the Grizzly of Yellowstone. …
The bear flips Leo over and thrusts and thrusts during the explicit mauling. “He is raped — twice!”
UPDATE: A source who has seen the film tells Business Insider there is no bear-rape scene, and a film critic on Twitter also denies its existence.
Popehat senses a conspiracy:
— Popehat (@Popehat) December 1, 2015
The rumor didn’t make a lot of sense anyway. The Revenant tells the story of Hugh Glass, a 19th-century trapper mauled by a bear and abandoned as dead by the others in his party. He survived in a legendary act of will, a tale which the film purports to tell in acute detail. (As with any Hollywood film, “inspired by true events” can mean a lot of things when it comes to historical accuracy.) At least in real life, Glass came too close to two grizzly cubs, provoking an attack from their mother:
They had only to look at what little the she-grizzly’s 3-inch claws had left of the old trapper. At least what they could make out through the blood, which was everywhere. To look at his shredded scalp…face…chest…arm…hand. To see how she’d chewed into his shoulder and back. They had only to listen to the blood bubble from the rip in his throat with his every breath. What astonished them was that he breathed at all. Again. And yet again. …
Yet even with those precautions, they’d lost two more men in a recent night attack. Two others suffered wounds. When the attacking warriors proved to be usually friendly Mandans, the trappers knew the Ree contempt was spreading–Assiniboines, Sioux and Hidatsas could well emulate the Blackfeet, who already considered any white man fair game. To draw attention could be to die. The gunshots needed to finish the grizzly and her two yearlings echoed through the gully. So, too, did the screams of Glass. They had to get their 18th fatality underground and move. Now!
But this corpse was still breathing.
Male bears live on their own and do not protect cubs. They are more likely to kill cubs that are sired by other males; 70% of bear attacks on humans are by females, usually to protect cubs, as happened with Glass. If the film portrays the attack accurately (admittedly a mighty big if), then the mechanics that would make this rumor a reality would necessarily be, er … rather mysterious. At least, I’m not going to speculate on them.
Still, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, even if there is such a thing as weird publicity. Here’s the trailer for The Revenant that came out two months ago. Looks a little weird and violent for my tastes, but the legend is compelling enough that I might give it a try.