We Made It: 'The Revenant' Production Designer Jack Fisk

The Revenant's production designer Jack Fisk wasn’t required to build multiple sets for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s 1823 wilderness epic. Indelible, however, are the few man-made settlements and structures with which Fisk marked the route of the bloodied, abandoned Hugh Glass (Leonard DiCaprio) as he struggles 200 miles southwards on his revenge mission through present-day Montana into South Dakota.

They include Glass and his fellow beaver-trappers’ rudimentary camp among towering trees that afford Arikara Indians eyries from which to shoot at them; a Pawnee village following a massacre; and the squalid fort that's Glass's destination. Then there are the dreadful monuments in his nightmares: a ruined cathedral with frescoes, blending Central American murals and Russian icon paintings, that depict the dead and suffering; a mountain of buffalo skulls redolent of Vasily Vereshchagin’s 1871 painting of human skulls, The Apotheosis of War.

A versatile master of his craft, Fisk, 69, has been Oscar-nominated for The Revenant's production design, as he was for designing Paul Thomas Anderson’s There Will Be Blood. His other credits include all nine of Terrence Malick’s films (including the two scheduled to open this year); Brian De Palma’s Carrie; and David Lynch’s The Straight Story and Mulholland Dr. That means the man who prepared the forest clearing where Glass is mangled by a bear also designed Mulholland’s extradimensional Club Silencio and the high-school auditorium where prom queen Carrie (Sissy Spacek, Fisk’s wife) is drenched with pig’s blood.

Read the full interview over on theartsdesk.com.

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