The Drudge Report had sparked an internet frenzy after claiming Oscar-tipped actor is sexually assaulted in the brutal western
News aggregator The Drudge Report posted an article claiming that the film features “a shocking scene of a wild bear raping Leo DiCaprio”, and said the segue had caused controversy at early screenings.
“The bear flips Leo over and thrusts and thrusts during the explicit mauling,” continues the article. “He is raped – twice!”
But Fox has now moved to confirm that DiCaprio is merely brutally assaulted by the bear in question, a verdict ratified by Guardian Film journalists who have seen Iñárritu’s movie.
“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,” a Fox spokesperson said in a statement to Entertainment Weekly. “There is clearly no rape scene with a bear.”
The Revenant is considered a frontrunner for next year’s Oscars, with DiCaprio widely tipped for a tilt at his first Oscar. However, Hollywood observers had already been questioning whether Iñárritu’s film might be too violent and unrelenting for Academy voters, so it’s no surprise that the studio moved quickly to shut down the spurious “bear rape” claim. The film was trending on Twitter this morning following The Drudge Report’s claims, and Fox’s move to deny them.
Beyond the bogus “bear rape” furore, The Revenant has been at the centre of controversy dating back to July, when Iñárritu was forced to publicly defend his shoot against claims it descended into a “living hell”, with actors subjected to freezing temperatures and multiple crew members quitting under brutal conditions. Last week veteran film blogger Jeffrey Wells sparked outrage after suggesting the film would be unsuitable for female audiences due to its “unflinchingly brutal nature”.
The Revenant is due to open on Christmas Day in the US, the same release date as another controversial prospect, Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight. The western, starring Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, Tim Roth and Jennifer Jason Leigh, is also at the centre of suggestions it could be deemed too violent for Oscars voters. However, the main controversies surrounding the film have stemmed from Tarantino’s ongoing feud with police and conservative media over his attack on alleged US police brutality at a New York rally on 24 October.
This article was written by Ben Child, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 2nd December 2015 09.13 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010