My favorite actor has been Leonardo DiCaprio ever since I was young. I have always thought that he is an incredibly talented actor as well as a charismatic person who is very attractive. Every time that Leo has a new movie coming out I cannot wait to see it. When I heard that he was cast in The Revenant I knew I would want to see it since Leo was playing the main character.

Since I live near Los Angeles I love taking advantage of attending advanced movie screenings and on occasion, these screenings include q&a’s with members of the cast and the director. I learned about this screening through twitter and saw that it was a part of the LA Times The Envelope Screening Series. Events like this are why I began this blog because I wanted a place to share how I get to do things like this so that others can have these experiences as well.

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A few months ago I attended a screening of Trumbo with a q&a with Bryan Cranston that was also a part of The Envelope Screening Series. The LA Times holds these screenings primarily for guild members in the entertainment industry because they are the ones who will be casting votes to determine the winners for various award shows. In order for them to make informed decisions, it is helpful to provide the opportunity for them to not only see the movie but to listen to the director and actors talk about the process of creating it. Guild members who submit an rsvp will be guaranteed to get into the screening as long as they have an active membership card. Nonguild members can submit an rsvp to be on a standby list.

Anytime that I am on a standby list I fully understand that there is a chance that I will not get in. I signed up for the screenings nonguild standby list and got to the theatre early so I would have a better chance of getting in if they had any extra seats. The time I spent waiting for the screening paid off as I made it inside and was given a seat only five rows from the front. Even though the Oscars are still two months away Leonardo DiCaprio has already been getting buzz about his performance. So far he is considered the favorite to win Best Actor. I was very anxious and excited to watch The Revenant and get to see what all the fuss was about.

I will say very little about the movie itself because I do not want to spoil anything. While The Revenant is not one of my favorite types of movies, I did enjoy it a lot and I appreciate the beauty of it. Of course, the fact that Leonardo DiCaprio is in it is one of the best parts of the movie for me. The cast for The Revenant has a few familiar faces in addition to Leo with Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, & Will Poulter. The movie is based on a true story and I found the story fascinating. There are some gory moments in the movie and I had to look away from the screen a few times but all in all I really enjoyed the movie. Leonardo DiCaprio delivered an incredible performance and I truly believe that he gave one of the best performances of his career.

the revenant with leonardo dicaprio

Following the end of the movie, I was so excited for Leo to arrive for the q&a. Director Alejandro González Iñárritu was introduced first followed by Leonardo DiCaprio who received a standing ovation. Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter, and Forrest Goodluck also came for the q&a. Tom Hardy was supposed to come as well but Alejandro said that he was on a flight to England. Honestly, as long as Leo was there I was a happy girl.

I had a seat in the center of my row and Leo sat in a chair in the center as well so I had a wonderful view of him. This is going to sound so cheesy but Leo was everything that I thought he would be. He was so humble, gracious, charismatic, funny and he looked so dapper and classy. I would have happily stayed for hours to listen to him talk.

The q&a was very interesting and full of information that gave me a greater appreciation for the movie. Leo shared that what drew him to this project was getting to work with Alejandro. Alejandro made the decision to shoot the movie only using natural light. This meant that they only filmed from 12:00pm to around 1:30 pm every day. They would spend the morning rehearsing to get everything as perfect as possible so that they could make the most of their time when they were able to film. The fact that they used natural lighting made the movie visually stunning.

The Revenant is the film debut for Forrest Goodluck who plays Leonardo DiCaprio’s son in the movie. Forrest shared how incredible his first experience was getting to work with Alejandro and Leo. The moderator for the q&a, a writer for the LA Times, asked if Forrest even realized how different the making of this movie was compared to others. Since Forrest had never worked on a movie being shot on a soundstage he had nothing to compare it to. It was so nice to hear how much passion that both Alejandro and the cast had for this project and I think that is shown on the screen.

This movie could have been made without going to the extremes that they did as far as how they chose to make this movie and how Leo chose to portray the character. By choosing to film in the locations that they did they gave the story a special touch. The beauty of the locations could not have been created on a sound stage and Leo said how shooting on location helped him get into character.

There is a scene in the movie where Leo eats a raw liver from a Bison. He could have chosen to eat a fake version created by the crew but he made decisions throughout the movie to do what would look and feel the most authentic. This is something that I love and respect about Leonardo DiCaprio he is willing to go the extra mile. If I had the choice between a real raw liver from a Bison and a fake version I would be tempted to take the fake version. He had a very real reaction to eating the liver and that is what you see on screen which works so well. The scene of him with the liver is only a small example of all the different things that he had to endure working on this movie.

These q&a’s are such a treat and are truly a blessing that I am so happy to get to be a part of. Listening to Leo and the other actors talk about the craft and their experiences give me a lot to take away and are an inspiration. And the best part is since they do allow for nonguild members to rsvp anyone who can get to the LA area has the opportunity to try and attend. Yes, you do have to be aware of the screening and rsvp before it fills up but that is where I come in. I do my best to stay informed of these events and if you would like information on these screenings in the future please follow me on Twitter and be sure to check the upcoming events page here frequently. Twitter is typically where I find out about the screenings and always retweet the information.

If you are able to rsvp to attend a screening in the future you do not need to worry about printing out tickets. Your name will be on the list at check-in for the screening. If you are on the nonguild standby list you can check in an hour and a half before the screening starts at which point you will be given a ticket noting your place in line and will be asked to return approximately fifteen minutes before the screening. That way you can go get dinner or walk around without needing to stand in line.

They give the guild members plenty of time to show up since they have priority and about fifteen minutes before the screening starts they will know the number of seats, if any, that are left and fill them with the standby line. When the screenings are held at the Arclight Cinemas in Sherman Oaks complimentary soft drinks & popcorn are given.

This particular screening was held in the Writers Guild theatre which does not have a concession. When you are let inside you will be given a ticket with an assigned seat. I realize that not everyone will get to go to these screenings since they take place in Los Angeles but for those living in the area or traveling here I hope these tips will help you have a very special experience.

If you’re interested in seeing movies for free be sure to check out this post on how to go to the movies for free. You can also read about other q&a’s I’ve attended like the one with the cast of American Crime Story Versace here.

About The Author

Michelle Ares is the founder and creative director of LA Dreaming. I have a passion for Southern California and love sharing my adventures and experiences with you. I love to travel, find new places to check out, and watch movies. You can follow me on Instagram @la.dreaming

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