Showing posts with label #BigMiracle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label #BigMiracle. Show all posts

More Interviews with the Big Miracle Cast | Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Kristin Bell

Thursday, February 2, 2012

There were so many good moments during our interviews with the Big Miracle cast. We laughed a lot and the atmosphere was relaxed and casual. We were told many times that our panel room was "the room" to be in. Kristin Bell was in the middle of answering a question but interrupted herself to say "can I just say how lovely the energy is in here, because I do a lot of these things, and sometimes I'm secretly slitting my wrists underneath the table. And this is just such a lovely group of estrogen, that it's really refreshing."

It was nice to hear, especially since I almost ran Kristin over as she was coming out of the elevator and I was going in. I was just about to reach out and grab her arms to make sure she didn't fall when I realized who she was. My hands were left mid-air and it was awkward. Then, to make the situation worse, I called her sweetie when I apologized.

Getting to talk with the cast is good for people like me who behind the scenes kind of people. One of the things I liked hearing from the actors was what they did to prepare for their roles. Kristin's dad worked in broadcasting as a news director. I asked if his background helped her get ready to portray journalist Jill Jerard. "Without question," she said. "That was one of the reasons, in my first meeting with Ken Kwapis, that I said wanted to do this, because I grew up playing with a teleprompter and knowing the local celebrities who were the news anchors. But, it felt very at home playing a journalist, I guess, because I have gone to work with him so many times."

Since the events took place in the late 1980's, I couldn't help but compare how different the national media coverage of saving the whales would be today compared with back then. During the session with John and Drew, John, who played Adam Carlson, said something that segued very nicely into one of the questions I wanted to ask.

"I personally believe that the time to believe in speaking up and having a voice and what can I do to help and all that is now.  One Tweet, one Facebook page, one anything can start an entire movement for your favorite charity.  You can get a pothole filled on Main Street.  You can do whatever you want.  Or, you can go all the way and start a revolution and be out in the streets of New York and start a national campaign, you know?"

So I asked, if this story were to happen today, in terms of social media what do they think their characters might have done differently? John made us all laugh with "there's an app to save whales."

Drew spent a lot of time with Cindy Lowry, the woman she portrayed as Rachel Kramer. She answered my question with, "I would need to ask her [Cindy] that because that's not something we discussed, how would you respond to social media. I know she's not like, tech savvy.  But, she loved having a voice, and she really did pull out a bullhorn in the middle of an auction to sell off the Bristol Bay Auction. So, she really was that person. And she's a bit of a bull in a china shop in that way.  And I think people who don't know what the boundaries are and sort of do whatever they need to do to get their point across probably would love a social media platform."

As a military wife, I would be remiss if I didn't say a little about Bonnie Carroll played by Vinessa Shaw. There's a love story in Big Miracle between Vinessa and Dermott. It's not a big part of the movie, but it's a huge part of Bonnie's life and it was so amazing to hear.

The way the events happened in the movie are not too far off from real life. Bonnie and Tom met, fell in love and agreed to marry over the phone.

Vinessa Shaw and Bonnie Carroll
"The phone call, the first time we talked, President Reagan had asked me to [make a call]. He was so cute. He said, 'Bonnie, since you're in the National Guard, call someone you know. Don't call the Pentagon.'

"And so, I called someone I knew in the Guard who called someone who called someone who called someone, and ultimately, they got up to Barrow, Alaska. And I was still at my desk working, not waiting for a phone call, just at my desk working at two in the morning when the phone rang.  And that was the first time that he [Tom] called.

And we talked for a few minutes about the whale rescue and how things are going, and it just took my breath away. And we just stopped, and I just wondered, “Where have you been?”

And we knew each other.  I can't explain it. Literally, we were together from that moment, inseparable, absolutely together.  And we were together right up until the morning that I saw him off on that flight. And he didn't come back. It's one in a million, but it really, really, really, really happened that way. We agreed to be married before we ever met in person."  

I knew about Tom's death from researching the characters before I saw the movie. Bonnie started TAPS (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors) after Tom died. There is more about the two of them and their lives together on the TAPS site. It really is amazing to read about.

As I said in my earlier post, I really enjoyed this film. It's a good family movie, though younger kids may not be able to understand everything. If you homeschool, there are a ton of things to talk about: whales and migration, The Cold War, Alaska and the Inupiat tribe, technology today versus the 1980's and how different media coverage is today. Big Miracle opens this weekend!

Watch and share the Big Miracle trailer on Facebook and Universal Pictures will donate $1 to Oceana. Thank you again to Universal for inviting me to participate!

Interview With Big Miracle Director Ken Kwapis

Monday, January 30, 2012

Last weekend I spent a wonderful few days in Santa Monica for the press tour of the new movie, Big Miracle starring Drew Barrymore, John Krasinski, Kristin Bell, Ted Danson, Dermot Mulroney and Vinessa Shaw. Even though the film is based on real events that took place in the late 1980's, I don't remember any of the news stories catching my attention at the time. 

The story takes place over two weeks in Barrow, Alaska. Three California grey whales were late in their migration and got trapped when temperatures dropped faster than normal and the ice froze very quickly. An Alaskan reporter, played by Krasinski, taped video of the whales breaching in a small hole in the ice and the footage ended up on Tom Brokaw's national evening newscast. Soon, saving the three whales went beyond the locals of Barrow and became a matter for the US and Russian military, the White House, Greenpeace and a large oil company.

Mom Blogger Big Miracle interview panel
I'll admit, I was expecting Big Miracle to have a high cheese factor. Sometimes, true events that get converted to the big screen are more exaggeration than real (like The Blind Side). But thankfully that wasn't the case here. There are so many different elements to the movie, it could have been easy to get lost in all the story arcs but Director Ken Kwapis pulled them all together really well.

"A lot of people want to know what it's like as a director working on a film that has so many characters on it," Ken Kwapis said. "In addition to so many characters, there's so many sort of story strands. For instance, there's a geopolitical aspect. It's sort of a tale of the end of the Cold War. There's, what it's like to live in Alaska. It's a young boy's coming of age story. There's a kind of not quite romantic triangle in the middle of it. And all these things kind of hover around a rescue adventure."

Watching the movie and knowing what we're seeing on the screen happened, it's hard to tell what parts are for show and what was real. To me, that's a sign the movie is doing its job of pulling the viewers in.

The director admits one of the more emotional scenes in the movie was invented but adds that, " and large, the most unbelievable events in the film did actually happen. People did carve a path of holes for five miles. I have no clue how they did it. There was an actual event in which a search and rescue chopper pilot brought a flammable generator across the ice, and it was so cold because they had to open the doors that his eye did freeze shut, yes. That actually happened."

Other than the actors, the real stars of Big Miracle were the whales. It was refreshing to see a movie that could have gone heavily CGI choose to use animatronics instead. Fred, Wilma and Bamm Bamm really do look like live whales. All of the actors were able to forget they weren't actually real and lose themselves in the scenes with the whales.

"Yes, the animatronic whales were really unbelievable," John Krasinski said. "They were so well done. These guys from Australia built them and engineered them and then were working them. And it was kind of insane because you really did not believe that they were robots. It was very overwhelming to see one of these things pop out. And while you were acting, to have these things continuously coming out of the water was phenomenal."

Kristin Bell even joked that, "they were more real than some actors I know. Not in this movie, but they were so well made from their scarring to their barnacles. From action to cut, you genuinely felt connected, as if they were animals."

I really liked this movie and hope to read the book it was based on, Freeing the Whales, soon. I know my son will enjoy the movie too. More interview snippets to come!

Click here to watch the trailers for Big Miracle. The movie opens Friday, February 3rd. Follow #BigMiracle on Twitter and Facebook.

Thank you to Universal Pictures for including me on the press tour! 

(Universal provided accommodations, meals, access to the actors and director and entertainment)

Santa Monica Sunset | Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Casa del Mar Hotel, Santa Monica
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