Vancouver actor Duane E Howard plays a pivotal role in the 3 time Golden Globe Award winning motion picture, The Revenant. Directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu and stars Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy, ‘The Revenant’ has been gaining a lot of speed by sweeping three major Globes and leading the Oscar nominations with 12 nominations under its belt!
‘I brought Elk Dog to life, and Elk Dog brought Duane to life’
Sitting humbly and soft spoken, with bursts of humour and playfulness, there’s more to Duane E Howard than meets the eye. This rising star has a story that is as heartfelt in life as the story of ‘The Revenant’. ‘The Revenant’ is a story of survival and the will power to stay alive and this could not ring more true to this actor who plays Elk Dog, the Arikara tribe leader searching for his kidnapped daughter.
Duane spent years on the streets on the Downtown Eastside and has seen the worst of it. Drugs, alcohol, violence, you name it. Like many Hollywood movies, when the main character has seen and done enough, enough IS enough. Howard found himself picking up the pieces and wanting to be a better man for himself and his family. He started working at an office job and then being scouted by a talent agent and started a career in stunt work. After taking a year off from the acting world, Howard found himself in a position where his past, present and talent found its way to Director Iñárritu.
Duane represents many First Nations who are seen as under-represented in Hollywood and expressed how very touched he was by the heartwarming speech by Leonardo DiCaprio when he accepted his award for Best Actor in a Drama. To bring light to the struggles of the indigenous community, but also to HIGHLIGHT their talents, their stories and their lives is something that Duane feels strongly about.
‘We all have stories and talents’
When asked as to how it was working alongside two major movie stars, Howard chuckles and recalls many down to earth, human conversations. Ones where you pull back the curtain of stardom and see the person underneath – someone very similar to all of us.
Howard holds back and carefully thinks about each thought, with the words that do come out very profound and heartfelt. When going further into his role and how he so immaculately portrayed Elk Dog despite challenges in learning the dialogue and the harsh weather, Howard gives the most heartfelt response, one which I, almost teared up.
He simply said, ‘Elk Dog brought Duane to life’ as building up this character helped him develop his self esteem and confidence. Howard mentions that he’s actually never watched any of the other shows/movies that he has been in except for this one. The reason being: It was one very close to his heart, that changed him as a person and for that he is forever grateful.
Knowing the hard past that Howard has dealt with, he says without hesitation that it shaped him and he wouldn’t have changed a single thing.
Special thank you to Holt Renfrew Vancouver for providing the venue, wardrobe (Tom Ford and Donna Karan) and cool directors chairs.
Catch Jim Gordon’s review of the film here
Videography + Images by Linsey Hulls