ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The third time was definitely the charm for Forrest Goodluck.
The 17-year-old Bosque School senior auditioned for Oscar-winning “Birdman” director Alejandro González Iñárritu nearly two years ago – at the age of 15 – for the film “The Revenant.”
“Alejandro actually pulled me aside on set and told me I had the part,” he says. “It was a moment that changed my life.”
Fast forward two years and Goodluck will be seen alongside Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson and Will Poulter when the film opens in wide release on Jan. 8. The movie has also generated some serious Oscar buzz.
“The Revenant” centers on explorer Hugh Glass, played by DiCaprio, as he’s brutally attacked by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team. In a quest to survive, Glass endures grief, as well as the betrayal of his confidant John Fitzgerald, played by Hardy. Glass begins to heal as well as plot a plan for revenge.
Goodluck plays Glass’ son, Hawk.
Bringing the film to fruition has been quite a journey.
The movie began shooting in October 2014 in Calgary and production slowed down because of heat which melted the show in Alberta.
Many members of the cast and crew then headed to Ushuaia, in the Tierra del Fuego region of Argentina, to complete the final scenes.
The film has also been getting plenty of attention for using natural light for the scenes in the film.
Goodluck says that also made for long days.
The cast filmed in cold weather and had traveled two hours each way to get to and from set daily.
Then he sat for two hours enduring facial prosthetics before having a few hours of shooting time. And one can’t forget that Goodluck also had three hours of schooling each day and a Spanish tutor on the weekends.
“By the time my mom and I got back to the hotel, we were starving,” he says. “We shot each scene the whole way through. It was a rush to get it all complete because we’d lose the light so quickly.”
The experience of working on such a diverse and grand set didn’t shake Goodluck’s confidence.
He would go out every day of filming and give it all.
His mother, Laurie Goodluck, accompanied him for the film because he’s a minor.
Seeing her son doing what he loves made her proud.
“There were days that he was soaked and his clothes weighed about 100 pounds,” she says. “He was very driven and made the most of the part. The director said he was impressed with his work ethic.”
Laurie Goodluck says her son has been drawn to acting since he was a child. In fact, he directed his first play in fifth grade.
Since then, he’s been very active in the local community scene as well as participating in theater at Bosque School. He was also awarded a Full Circle Fellowship from the Sundance Institute. The program aims to elevate young Native filmmakers to more competitive ranks in what is often considered a homogenous and privileged realm of content creation. Through collaborations with tribal, national and regional organizations, the fellowship will build a pipeline for young filmmakers and engage tribal youth into a network designed to provide artists with a clear pathway to advance their craft.
“I want to be an actor first,” he says. “But I also want to learn everything I can about filmmaking. I’ve been making films since I was 12 and this is my passion.”
As many high school seniors are doing, Goodluck has been busy applying to colleges in California such as the University of Southern California, the University of California,/Los Angeles, Stanford University, Loyola Marymount University as well as Columbia University and New York University.
He’s currently reading scripts and looks forward to his next project.
“Being part of this film has helped me learn a lot about myself and the industry,” he says. “Like my character in the film, we are both deep thinkers and plot out our next move. I also got a chance to work with great actors and a director that I admire. Alejandro can see an entire scene in his head. He pushed us all to get the scenes that he wanted. That was a learning experience.”
As the release date for the film approaches, Goodluck has been doing the press circuit and attending the premiere in Los Angeles. He’s also getting some ink in Variety and Empire magazines.
And he’s taking all of the attention in stride.
“To see the creative process has been an amazing opportunity,” he says. “I can’t wait for everyone to see the film and the hard work we put in.”