Navajo actor Arthur RedCloud, who portrayed ‘Hikuc,’ the Pawnee man who helps the main character in The Revenant, , never expected to get such an important role.
RedCloud says working with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, director Alejandro G. Iñárritu, and other actors such as Tom Hardy was a “favor from the Creator.”
In an interview with ICTMN, RedCloud talks about getting the role and what it’s like to now consider DiCaprio “his brother.”
I guess The Revenant experience for you so far has been a wild ride?
Oh yeah, I didn’t expect any of this.
How did you first find out about your role as Hikuc?
I went to an audition after driving from Dallas to San Jose, New Mexico. I was the first to arrive. I thought I would be the last one. I went through a couple of improvs and then I had a cold reading. It took off from there.
A month and a half later, I went through a couple more auditions. They called me back and told me I made the list, I thought that was as far as it would go, two weeks after that they said they were going to go with me and I got an acting coach.
Eventually I went to Canada and I met with the director for the final audition. It went wonderful. I read his spirit, we really connected right away. He told me his vision and his plan for this film. I did my final audition and he loved it. He told me I got the part.
What did that make you think?
I had no idea this was such a huge role in the movie. I didn’t even receive the script until I got to the set in Canada.
When did you first realize you’d be working with Leonardo DiCaprio?
Not until I arrived on set. I first met him during rehearsal. We just got familiar with each other and we talked a little bit about where we are from. I wanted to get to know him and I couldn’t care less about his fame and fortune – I was more worried about making an emotional and spiritual connection so that we could really give this film what it needed.
How was the experience overall?
Even though I was freezing cold during the shooting, this was the best experience possible. This was a God/Creator thing and I couldn’t ask for a better director to work with and learn from. I couldn’t ask for a better actor to work with than Leo and the other actors, like Domnhall Gleeson and Tom Hardy. They are so amazing at their craft; I really hope I get the opportunity to work with them again.
Every scene, every set was a learning experience. I think Domnhall Gleeson (Captain Andrew Henry) said it best in that the light and the snow were another character of the film.
It was great working with Forrest Goodluck and all of the other actors they are no longer friends, they are family. Leo is not just a friend to Forrest and me, he is our brother.
In the movie when you are hanged, how did that affect you?
To me, it wasn’t just a historical truth, it was a message. Everyone portrays us as savages. But, in this case it was the white people who were savages. That is the message people need to realize. This is a story that is being corrected by Alejandro. He is correcting the story, not just telling it.
How did you feel when DiCaprio thanked First Nations people at the Golden Globes?
Oh my gosh, my heart was completely overwhelmed. He even said our names at the SAG awards, which was also overwhelming. That is why I call him my brother. For a man of that stature and integrity to mention First Nations people, shows the true fabric of a man and his spirit.
I’ve only done a few documentaries, to leapfrog from that to this all the way to where I am now, has been a huge gift from the Creator.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I also wanted to say to the Pawnee people: I hope that I was able to portray their words and their language in a respectful way. I pay respect to them as well as to the Arikara Nation.