08.2011 – Hollywoodteenzine interview

By : hollywoodteenzine.com


Soul Surfer tells the remarkable true story of a young promising amateur surfer Bethany Hamilton who suffered a near fatal shark attack and overcame adversity to make her dreams of becoming a professional surfer come true.  Bethany was driven by an incredible amount of strength, courage and faith to succeed as a pro, which was conveyed to perfection on screen by seasoned actress AnnaSophia Robb, who was hand chosen by Bethany for the role.

We recently sat down with AnnaSophia Robb to find out her thoughts on this inspirational story, how she tackled the role and her reaction to receiving her first Teen Choice nomination.  Head over to our contest corner to find out how you can win a copy of Soul Surfer on DVD signed by AnnaSophia.

First, I wanted to congratulate you on all of the success that Soul Surfer has received, especially with the recent Teen Choice nominations.  What is your reaction to the media and fans taking so well to this story?

Thank you.  Just to be nominated is an honor in itself.  It’s really cool because it started out as this independent project  – it was going to be a really small film  – and then to have it be championed by Sony and to get all of the attention that it gets, I just really honored.  I’m really excited for the Hamilton’s and the Producers.  It’s kind of like the little engine that could, you know?

Did you have any knowledge of the incident before you auditioned for the role?

I knew Bethany’s story partly because they had a big billboard up for Foundation For A Better Life in the Denver Airport. – I’m from Denver and I still live there – so every time I would go in and out of town I would see her face on this billboard.

In the past you have played several fictional characters, was there any added pressure going into this film knowing that it was based on a real life incident that was highly publicized by the media?

I did.  Bethany has become one of my really good friends so I wanted to give her story justice and make her happy.  If she were to be happy with the film then I would be happy with it – that was my angle.  I just wanted her to feel confident about how I portrayed her.

For those who are actually seeing Soul Surfer for the first time on DVD, can you tell us what the story is about?

Soul Surfer is about Bethany Hamilton, she is on her way to becoming this young pro surfer and everything seems great in life.  Her left arm is taken off by a shark and so you would think that her career would be over, but instead she didn’t give up.  She kept her faith alive and went for her dream and is now a pro surfer.

What I liked about this movie is that there are so many underlying messages it has to offer to young viewers.  What was the biggest message that you took away from the film and applied to your life?

In applying to my life, I guess it would be that life throws you curveballs and you might ask questions like, “Why does this terrible thing happen?”  It may be a situation that seems negative, but can ultimately turn positive. You have to look at life in the greater scheme of things.

What was your favorite scene to film?

A lot of the surf shots when we were out in the water surfing.  The last three days of shooting we just did a bunch of the water scenes. Bethany did pretty much most of the surfing and a couple other girls doubled for me.  When they got to the close-ups, I got to ride on the back of jet skis.  Just being out on the water was a lot of fun because I love the ocean.

Were there any challenging scenes that you filmed for the movie?

A lot of our hospital sequences were difficult because, you know, what would it be like to lose your arm, to wake up and have that sensation and that experience. It was something that I had never experienced before so it was completely out of my comfort zone, out of anything that I have known.

Your character spent majority of this film without a left arm, what was that process like? Did they shoot those sequences in CGI?

Yes.  I wore a prosthetic on my arm and then I wore like a green sleeve so that the post-production could take out my arm.  The CGI team did an amazing job, but it was definitely a longer process to actually film it.

When I watched the film it looked so real that I couldn’t tell that it was done with CGI.

Thank you.  Yes, they did a wonderful job.  I couldn’t even tell.

Carrie Underwood made her film debut in Soul Surfer, what was it like working with her on the set?  Did she seek any acting advice from you?

Carrie was awesome to work with, she is a real professional.  She showed up on set and only had a week to get all of her shots done.  She had never acted before and I am really proud of her work in the film.  She is a really good sport.  I watched her grow as an actress on set, which was pretty cool.  She didn’t really ask me for advice, but it was a neat experience watching her get a hang of being on a movie set.

You got to spend a lot of time in Hawaii during production, what was that experience like for you? Had you ever been to Hawaii prior to filming Soul Surfer?

I had gone to Oahu actually for New Years a couple years ago, but it was my first time really spending some quality time there.  I love the North Shore.  I love, love, love Hawaii. It is like one of the best places in the world – I want to get a house there and move there.  And it was so cool because we filmed on the North Shore, which is where all of the big waves were and all the big surf competitions were in the season that we were filming.

Have you become a fan of surfing now?

Definitely, yes!  A few days ago I just got back from a surf camp in San Diego.

Can you tell us a little about your experience at the camp?

It’s the Walking on Water Surf Camp and one of Bethany’s friends actually started it.   They asked me to come as a promotional thing, but I asked if I could come as a camper because it sounded really fun [Laughs].   It was a Christian Camp so that was cool.

When editing the final movie together there are usually a lot of good scenes that end up on the cutting room floor, did you have a chance to watch any of the deleted scenes on the DVD yet?

I haven’t even seen a DVD, I am excited.

Were there any scenes you wished they had kept in the movie?

I’ll have to look through the list of deleted scenes.  But yes, I remember watching the movie and thinking, “Man I wish that scene was in it” but I cannot remember (the title of) it for the life of me.