Castaway Bindi honours her dad
INDI Irwin isn’t afraid of snakes, crocodiles, vehement disagreement or even Hillary Clinton.
But horror movies give the 14-year-old wildlife warrior the heebie-jeebies. ‘‘I just can’t cope,’’ she says. When one of Irwin’s mates decided to celebrate their birthday by watching an instalment in the Saw franchise, she was forced to admit defeat.
‘‘I felt really bad. They had to change their entire party plans.’’
It’s nice to know that even Irwin, who reduced 300 million viewers to tears when she delivered an assured eulogy to her late father at the tender age of eight, has the odd moment of weakness.
Her most recent project, an upcoming role in the Canadian comedy-horror series My Babysitter’s a Vampire, might almost qualify as a form of exposure therapy – similar to the method used by Australia Zoo to help herpetophobics overcome their fear of snakes.
But it’s the Gold Coast-filmed Return to Nim’s Island and her role as a conservation-minded castaway that’s closest to Irwin’s heart.
‘‘She wants to protect her island so badly. She won’t let anything stand in her way,’’ Irwin says.
‘‘And in real life I am trying to protect the Steve Irwin wildlife reserve from being mined for aluminium. It’s a cool parallel.’’
The film is the sequel to Nim’s Island, the 2008 film that starred Abigail Breslin, Jodie Foster and Gerard Butler. This time around, Nim has a love interest.
Former Neighbours star Toby Wallace plays a smitten young adventurer who travels to Nim’s tropical paradise to reconnect with Irwin’s character.
The story picks up a few years after their first meeting, when the pristine island is simultaneously threatened by poachers and developers.
Former Play School presenter John Waters plays one of the villains.
‘‘It was a little strange to see him coming at me with a knife. He used to sing me my ABCs,’’ laughs Irwin.
While her two great loves – film and wildlife conservation – might seem a little disparate, she says they complement each other surprisingly well.
‘‘The film industry is such a wonderful platform to get my message across – I can reach a whole different audience. And I am in a unique position to do that because I love filming and I also want to make sure that my Dad’s message and legacy lives on forever.
‘‘If you asked, let’s say Hugh Jackman, what his opinion on the non-consumptive use of wildlife was, that would probably get to more people than if you just asked a passer-by on the street.
‘‘Their opinion counts just as much but it won’t reach as many people. And that’s what I am trying to do. My mission on this earth is to bring the message of conservation to people.’’
Irwin acknowledges that the loss of her father at such a young age has affected the way she conducts her life.
‘‘After losing Dad, I think it’s really concreted the idea that life is fragile and you do need to complete things now because you don’t know how long you have,’’ she says.
opens on April 4.
Toby Wallace, as Edmund, and Bindi Irwin, as Nim, in a scene from