OSCARS: Behind The Scenes On ‘The Impossible’
When the production team behind Summit’s The Impossible met with 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami survivor Maria Belon at a quiet coffee shop in Barcelona in the spring of 2008, they weren’t certain that she would agree to have her family’s harrowing story told in a feature film. Producer Belen Atienza knew they were in for an emotional afternoon—she was the one who first heard Belon’s story on the radio, a drama so profound that it left Atienza in tears after it concluded. But Atienza, director Juan Antonio Bayona, screenwriter Sergio Sanchez—who have a shorthand from working together on Bayona’s Spanish-language horror hit The Orphanage—gained Belon’s trust in a simple way: They listened.
“We were all really nervous,” Atienza recalls about the initial meeting. “She talked for three and a half hours. It was exhausting for her and for us. We didn’t open our mouths—we were just listening—and she was extremely thorough.”
The resulting film, an almost unbelievable tale of one family’s struggle to reunite amidst a country’s horror and loss, stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor, whose performances started some Oscar buzz after the film’s premiere at the Toronto Film Festival in September. The Impossible also has the benefit of being cofinanced and distributed by a studio familiar with nurturing films through awards season, Summit Entertainment, which was behind the Oscar-winning film The Hurt Locker in 2008. The Impossible doesn’t open in the United States until December 21, but it has already earned the distinction of having the biggest opening weekend in Spain’s boxoffice history, with $13.3 million on 638 screens.
Q&A with the cast and crew of ‘The Impossible’
THR’s Scott Feinberg moderates a Q&A with the cast and crew of The Impossible. Director Juan Antonio Bayona joins stars Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts and Tom Holland open up about working on the tsunami movie.
For our Italian visitors, here is the trailer for The Impossible for your country. The film will be released in Italian cinemas on January 24th.
Big thanks to Brooke on behalf of Relativity Media for sending us the first still of Naomi in Movie 43 – and in HQ, none-the-less! Naomi is seen in what I think is full-on teacher mode, home-schooling her son in the unique way that her character does.
We also have an official synopsis and social media links.
Warning: This movie is not for the weak-stomached, faint of heart, or easily offended.
In Movie 43, comedy is served steaming hot by director Peter Farrelly of The Farrelly Brothers (Something About Mary, Dumb & Dumber) in one of the most original comedies ever made. Starring Elizabeth Banks, Kristen Bell, Halle Berry, Leslie Bibb, Kate Bosworth, Gerard Butler, Bobby Cannavale, Kieran Culkin, Josh Duhamel, Anna Faris, Richard Gere, John Hodgman, Terrence Howard, Hugh Jackman, Johnny Knoxville, Justin Long, Stephen Merchant, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Chloë Grace Moretz, Chris Pratt, Liev Schreiber, Seann William Scott, Emma Stone, Jason Sudeikis, Uma Thurman, Naomi Watts, and Kate Winslet, Movie 43 is jaw-dropping, uproarious, outrageous fun.
Movie 43 hits US screens on January 25th 2013.
Awards Circuit has an interesting article on films Lionsgate are pushing for awards consideration this year, and The Impossible is one of their big ones. Read the bit mentioning Naomi (it’s good — really good) below, and the full article at AwardsCircuit.com.
You can view Lionsgate’s official ‘For Your Consideration’ awards page at lionsgateawards.com. This shows you the films they are pushing and in which categories.
Two Lead Contenders on Lionsgate Awards Plate
When the Lionsgate Awards site went LIVE today and listed their slate of contenders involving Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Fisher Stevens’ Stand Up Guys, Gary Ross’ The Hunger Games, Nicholas Jarecki’s Arbitrage, and J.A. Bayona’s The Impossible, I started to analyze how this year could pan out for smaller films that are trying to make a play; even more so, the performances in them.
Lionsgate has sent out screeners this past week to BFCA and Oscar voters which could start a reaction from members. Especially when many late-year entries will be competing to be seen by the early deadline set by AMPAS, an accessible, timely film like Arbitrage might do the trick for many.
Also on Lionsgate’s roster is J.A. Bayona’s The Impossible, featuring a fierce and ferocious performance by Naomi Watts. Watts, previously nominated in Alejandro Gonzalez Inaritu’s 21 Grams (2003), hasn’t found herself on Oscar’s radar since. As ‘Maria,’ the desperate and brave mother, Watts engulfs herself into the role, naked, bare, and completely relatable. In a year where Lead Actress is nearly vacant, a powerful turn by Naomi Watts could easily find herself in a lineup. With the only Lead Actress to push is Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games, Lionsgate can make a strategic, smart decision and put their money where its going to count.
To promote her new movie The Impossible, Naomi gave a 30 minute interview to film critic David Poland, shot in Los Angeles last month. It’s a fantastic in depth discussion, and you can watch and listen here:
Naomi fans, I have a big-but-small-but-fantastic update for you today! I have added 250 more photos from Naomi’s 2008 photoshoot for Vogue magazine to our Gallery! Naomi looks so gorgeous in this shoot – I love the colours, the styling and how pretty yet sassy Naomi looks. Only trouble is, these photos are super small and not very good quality. I did debate whether or not to add them, but then I thought that I loved seeing them all regardless of the size, so thought you would appreciate them too. I hope so
These photos are very, very rare, so, despite the size, I hope you enjoy looking at them all – Naomi looks perfect!
• 2008 – Session #006 x250 more
The Impossible will receive a red carpet premiere in the UK on November 19th, in Leicester Square … and J.A. Bayona confirms Naomi will be attending! Ewan McGregor, Tom Holland, the other child actors and the director himself will also be there.
This is great news for us UK fans, as – if I remember rightly – Naomi has not attended a premiere for one of her films here since 2007!
We will bring you full coverage from the red carpet premiere, so be sure to check back
The Impossible screened at the AFI Festival in Los Angeles on Sunday night, and earlier that day the LA Times ran a story of the success of the film so far. Naomi was unfortunately not at the AFI screening – it was attended by Ewan McGregor and director Juan Antonio Bayona, among others.
AFI Fest: ‘The Impossible’ is a hit of ‘Titanic’ size in Spain
As in most countries, James Cameron’s last two films “Avatar” and “Titanic” top the box-office list of all-time highest grossers in Spain. But that could change if native son Juan Antonio Bayona and his latest film about a family caught in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami “The Impossible” continues its unlikely drive in the European country.
Since its Oct. 11 opening, the film has grossed 29 million euros, over $37 million, in only four weeks of release. “Titanic” grossed 41 million euros in the country when it opened some 15 years ago, and only 2009’s “Avatar” has beaten it.
Currently the film is the highest-grossing film of the year in the country and the highest-grossing Spanish film of all time.
“The Impossible” will screen tonight in Hollywood during the American Film Institute’s annual festival ahead of its December release in the U.S.