Emile says the experience of filming Into the Wild was the adventure of a lifetime. Since the film doesn't rely on special effects, Emile had to do everything himself. To show how Chris ran with horses, Emile ran with horses; to show how Chris chased a caribou, Emile chased a caribou.
One particularly scary scene required Emile to kayak on the Colorado River. When he finally saw the big rapid he was going to have to maneuver, Emile says he got very scared and very quiet…until he got some encouragement from his director. "I'm looking at it and Sean, bless him, he comes up to me and he goes, 'Will you do it if I go first?' And he got in that kayak and he did those rapids first."
For another scene, Emile had to submerge himself in 35-degree water. "You don't really feel how vulnerable and how cold you are until your ears go under," he says. "And you hear the river underneath you and it just sounds like icicles clanking together.
"There were days when, literally, the only focus was staying safe. That would be my primary objective," he says. "Nature, when you get out there, you realize it's very unforgiving. It's doesn't look out for you, it just is."