We Got This Covered: Did the subject of luck come up at all?
Naomi Watts: Oh yeah. She (Maria) puts it down to total luck because there were 250,000 lives lost and so many others affected. She doesn’t want to be thought of as heroic in any way even though to me and to others she may feel like that. But if there’s any suggestion of that, then that would be unfair. It was just pure luck and she can’t say it any other way.
We Got This Covered: After you finished shooting this movie, did you go through any profound change personally in your outlook on life or did you just go back to everyday life like nothing has changed?
Naomi Watts: Look, I’d like to think that every film I do stays with me and gives me some kind of a lesson in a way. I would say connecting with Maria and her story affected me profoundly. If I met her today without knowing that she had been through a tsunami I think I would be intimidated by her and not be able to relate to her because she’s got this fearlessness and positivity, and I’m probably quite cynical and not like that (certainly not all the time). It just makes her very impressive knowing what she’s been through and how she sees things.
We Got This Covered: What was it like doing those hospital scenes where your character doesn’t look like she’s going to make it?
Naomi Watts: This was difficult because you worry as an actor that if you’re forced into one position physically if that will limit you. Obviously the loss of blood and energy was making her very passive, but it’s important to keep the emotion moving and the spirit of the character coming through. Maria spoke about how she wanted to keep humor there and she wasn’t dying until she was dead, so there’s a sense of the fighter in her.
We Got This Covered: That little boy that you and your son rescue, was that reflective of who Maria really is?
Naomi Watts: Yeah I think so. It became so important to her, and there’s that line in the movie of “if it’s that last thing we ever do” and we have to do it. Despite the urgency of wanting to move forward and away, that was all that mattered. She said because she was a doctor and knew how much blood she was losing, she was pretty sure she was going to die. So that was the most important thing to leave a lesson for her son.
We Got This Covered: Maria’s family is Spanish but the family in the movie is an English speaking one. Was that a commercial decision?
Naomi Watts: I think it was because Juan Antonio [Bayona] knew how much money he wanted for the movie, and it had to be open and more accessible to bigger markets.
We Got This Covered: Had you seen J.A. Bayona’s other movie, The Orphanage, before you decided to do The Impossible?
Naomi Watts: Yes, in fact when the idea first came to me my agent called me up and said there’s this script about the tsunami and I said “really? I don’t know. That doesn’t sound like such a great idea. This is such a big, powerful story and so many lives lost and affected and it feels wrong to make a movie about that and make it spectacular in some way.” But then I heard that Juan Antonio was directing it and I knew The Orphanage and I thought he’s a proper filmmaker so let me read it. Five pages in I knew I wanted to do it. It just felt really grounded in truth and that’s because it was all of their (the family’s) experiences blow by blow; everything that happened to them is on the screen.
That concludes our interview with Naomi but we’d like to thank her for taking the time to talk with us. Be sure to check out The Impossible, in theatres this Friday.