This new shark at­tack flick doesn’t take it­self too se­ri­ously, writes Caris Biz­zaca

Sunday Tasmanian - Tassie Living - - FRONT PAGE - BAIT 3D Now show­ing Vil­lage Cine­mas

Fear fac­tor bites back.

AUSSIE di­rec­tor Kim­ble Ren­dall says shark at­tack flick Bait was al­ready be­ing filmed when life im­i­tated art dur­ing the Queens­land floods. The tim­ing was touchy be­cause in

Bait, a tsunami hits Aus­tralia, trap­ping peo­ple in a shop­ping cen­tre with gi­ant sharks, and the shoot co­in­cided with the dev­as­tat­ing floods.

‘‘ That was a tragedy . . . the idea was writ­ten be­fore those things hap­pened,’’ Ren­dall said, also re­fer­ring to the tsunami that dev­as­tated Ja­pan.

‘‘ Peo­ple are go­ing, ’ Oh sharks in a su­per­mar­ket, that’s un­be­liev­able’, and then there was a bull shark in a video store in Bowen, from the floods.’’

He says Bait is part- dis­as­ter movie, so us­ing the tsunami was es­sen­tial to the story, but as with any film it’s hard not to make a con­nec­tion to real life.

‘‘ Look at movies, peo­ple get shot, peo­ple get run over,’’ he says.

‘‘ It doesn’t mat­ter what it is . . . even if it’s a ro­man­tic com­edy, you can’t avoid it.’’

Ren­dall, who worked as sec­ond unit di­rec­tor on big US movies in­clud­ing the

Ma­trix se­quels and I, Ro­bot, says he brought the crew ( some from Sydney) from those shoots to Bait.

‘‘ We’re bring­ing that ex­per­tise into Aus­tralian movies,’’ he says.

They needed it. As the first Aus­tralian 3D ac­tion genre pro­duc­tion,

Bait brought with it some tough tech­ni­cal chal­lenges.

Two of the film’s stars, Lin­coln Lewis and Cariba Heine, say the crew had to deal with ob­sta­cles such as hav­ing the cam­eras close to wa­ter.

‘‘ They [ also] fig­ured out pretty early on that they had to have the air­con on full blast . . . be­cause if those cam­eras over­heat, they’re down for four hours,’’ Heine says.

Lewis says 3D was a ma­jor draw­card to get in­volved.

‘‘ It was Aus­tralia’s first 3D film,’’ he says. ‘‘ That re­ally got our at­ten­tion and then af­ter that, it was about sharks.’’

He says the shark it­self was in­cred­i­bly re­al­is­tic, even to the tini­est de­tail.

‘‘ Ev­ery­thing, like the eyes close over when it at­tacks,’’ Lewis says. Ren­dall says while there are scares,

Bait is more of a fun pop­corn movie and doesn’t take it­self se­ri­ously. ‘‘ Peo­ple men­tion Jaws,’’ he says. ‘‘[ Jaws is a] mas­ter­piece and we weren’t in­tend­ing to make a film that was any bet­ter than that. There’s no way. This is a dif­fer­ent style of thing.’’

Lewis says he knew Bait had a funny tone from the script, ‘‘ and we tried to make use of ev­ery sin­gle pos­si­ble joke that came our way’’.

An ensem­ble movie, Bait fea­tures a cast in­clud­ing Dan Wyl­lie, Ju­lian McMa­hon and Xavier Sa­muel, with most of the ac­tion tak­ing place in the su­per­mar­ket.

How­ever, Lewis and Heine play a cou­ple trapped in a flooded carpark one floor down.

While it meant they filmed most of their scenes in a sub­merged car, it didn’t keep them dry.

‘‘ We were sit­ting on sop­ping wet seats and stand­ing on top of the kombi [ van] in a tight white T- shirt and black bra,’’ Heine says.

‘‘ She’s talk­ing about me ac­tu­ally,’’ Lewis jokes.

‘‘ You’d be sur­prised at how much it makes a man feel sexy.’’

In all se­ri­ous­ness, he says as soon as they would start to dry off, they would get the or­der to jump back in the wa­ter.

In the short- term, it meant chlo­rine rashes and pruney- look­ing fin­gers, but with no ad­verse af­fects long- term . . . ex­cept maybe a bit more fear of the beach this sum­mer.

Ren­dall, a for­mer mem­ber of the Hoodoo Gu­rus rock band, says he of­ten swims in Sydney.

‘‘ Well, it would be great pro­mo­tion I think if the di­rec­tor gets eaten at Bondi Beach,’’ he jokes.

But like many Aus­tralians, he’s al­ways thought about the dan­ger of sharks, say­ing it’s part of our psy­che.

‘‘ I used to ride a surf­board and I’ve rid­den over sharks, on a wave,’’ he says.

‘‘ Not great whites . . . but they were big sharks, enough to scare you.’’

He says his grand­fa­ther was fil­let­ing a fish when a shark came up and took it from his hand.

‘‘ He never went back in the wa­ter, I don’t think.’’

How­ever, hav­ing trav­elled around the world with Bait, in­clud­ing its pre­miere at Venice Film Fes­ti­val, Ren­dall says it’s not just Aus­tralians.

The Ital­ians, the Chi­nese – other au­di­ences are scared of sharks too.

‘‘ It seems ev­ery­one is,’’ he said.

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