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