Special thanks to Summit Entertainment, I recently participated in the press roundtable interview for THE IMPOSSIBLE, which is a Tsunami drama film starring Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts, and I asked director Juan Antonio Bayona of what their experience like collaborating with the Thai people on this film, considering they had to recreate an environment or a tragic event that probably still haunts many of the locals there..
JAB: “We bring us a crew of a thousand people to Thailand but there was a thousand people more, Thai crew, working on the film, so we were very close with them of course. And we wanted to be very close with them. Me, as a director, I wanted to be as much possible close to not just the Thai people but also a lot of foreign people there living in Thailand who lived through the Tsunami. I wanted to portray the whole picture, not just the foreign side of the story of course.
In terms of the Thai people, I never wanted to be condescending, I never wanted to portray them from above, and for me it’s the same. It’s not about nationalities. One thing I listened again and again and again from the survivors’ stories is how grateful they were to the Thai people. And it was very impressive, no matter if you survived, no matter if you have lost someone in your family, all the people were talking wonderful words about the Thai. So I never wanted to portray them just as victims. I wanted to portray them also from the point of view of the enormous gratitude that all the people were talking about them.
And also I like the fact that you don’t see anybody die in the film. You don’t need to kill anybody to talk about death and the whole film talked about death and you see the corpses and you see on the back, who’s on the back, Thai people or foreign people. It’s all about people, not nationalities, all that nationalities was taken away from the water very fast, in a second, and suddenly when you get to the end, then you talk to the privileged, the privilege of being a westerner and going there and then you need to go back home, and how you go back home after what you went through there. I like the fact that the title is at the end, ‘The Impossible’, because this is the moment when the impossible starts, how do you live? How do you go back to your normal life after going through that?”
Directed by J. A. BAYONA
Written by SERGIO G. SÁNCHEZ
Produced by BELÉN ATIENZA, ENRIQUE LÓPEZ LAVIGNE, ÁLVARO
Starring NAOMI WATTS, EWAN McGREGOR, TOM HOLLAND
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Release date: December 21, 2012 (limited)
Based on the true story of one family’s survival of the 2004 tsunami, THE IMPOSSIBLE stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor and is directed by J.A. Bayona (THE ORPHANAGE).
Maria (Naomi Watts), Henry (Ewan McGregor) and their three sons begin their winter vacation in Thailand, looking forward to a few days in tropical paradise. But on the morning of December 26th, as the family relaxes around the pool after their Christmas festivities the night before, a terrifying roar rises up from the center of the earth. As Maria freezes in fear, a huge wall of black water races across the hotel grounds toward her.
THE IMPOSSIBLE is the powerful and unforgettable account of a family caught, with tens of thousands of strangers, in the mayhem of one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time. But the true-life terror is tempered by the unexpected displays of compassion, courage and simple kindness that Maria and her family encounter during the darkest hours of their lives. Both epic and intimate, devastating and uplifting, The Impossible is a journey to the core of the human heart.