Thanks to Paramount Pictures Australia, we had the chance to take part in a roundtable interview alongside Damn Good Cup and Hollywood Treatment, with Bait 3D director Kimble Rendall and Australian star Lincoln Lewis.
In our interview, we talked about a wide range of topics, including working with a fresh hot Australian cast, filming with water, Animatronics Sharks, the friendly environment on and off set, Lincoln’s experience working with M. Night Shyamalan and his dream co-star, and the origin of Kimble Rendall’s nickname ‘El Presidente’.
When you were working on set with all those special effects and being surrounded by water, how did you guys communicate?
Lincoln Lewis: So we’re sitting inside this submerged BMW with only the sun roof open so we can hear things from the outside and it’ll be ‘Cut’ and we would see Kimble walk onto this ramp. Which is over, like a little bridge, with his microphone and the speakers are coming from this roof and he’s just talking to us. We were like ‘THIS IS CRAZY!’ It was like a God’s voice.
What were people’s first reactions to the film?
Kimble Rendall: Well it’s a movie for the crowd; it’s not quite made to be seen alone. When I screened it in Venice, the Italians were yelling out because they love the horror films and this sort of genre, so they clapped. They really liked it, especially in gory scenes they screamed ‘Yeiiii’ all the time! So when you are in a big audience, the whole thing is building itself, but if you are in a small place with not many people on a Monday morning, it doesn`t really work.
“…it’s a movie for the crowd; it’s not quite made to be seen alone.”
Lincoln Lewis: Yeah…you have to get your mates together and bring a companion to the movie you know…so you can say to her “oh come in (hugging)…it’s scary isn`t it” ha ha
How was working with a hot Australian cast?
Lincoln Lewis: We were terrible, absolute divas ha ha ha…
Kimble Rendall: Yeah…terrible…ha ha…It’s funny because we did the casting in LA and there were a lot of American actors, well known young American actors that were interested and I sort of noticed that then Aussies were coming in. I did another casting back here and noticed there’s a lot of great Aussies, so we went ok we’ll just cast the whole thing with Australian actors and a couple from Singapore and fortunately I actually planned this whole thing that by the time the film came out, they were all going to be really successful and that’s what’s happened.
“…I did another casting back here and noticed there’s a lot of great Aussies, so we went ok we’ll just cast the whole thing with Australian actors and a couple from Singapore…”
Lincoln Lewis: (Laughs) He put in a good word
Kimble Rendall: I forced Will Smith
Lincoln Lewis: He’s like ‘hire him’ and Will’s just like ‘yeah no worries’. Because Kimble worked with him in I,Robot so he called him up and was just like ‘hire this kid, he needs the leg up and has no hope’ so Will’s like ‘ah shit, if I have to!’ *laughs* So I called up Kimble and said ‘Thanks bro, you saved me man. I appreciate it.’
Kimble Rendall: Yeah he got it…he was pure raw talent…I hope you remember that later ha ha
Lincoln Lewis: Yeah, especially in a couple of years doing a speech: “I wanna thank Kimble, I would be basking on the street of Redfern if it wasn`t for El Presidente” ha ha ha.
Ok…let’s talk about Sharks now…Kimble how was the process of designing them, and as per our previous chat on the phone you mentioned to me that they were originally not mean to be Great Whites, isn’t it?
Kimble Rendall: Talking about the designs of the Sharks, it started as Tiger Sharks so we kind of sculptured it and then I thought…well the Great White is scarier and has a bigger head, so we molded it…still not many people will know the difference, you know.
So did you use animatronics or CGI most of the time?
Kimble Rendall: We had full length animatronics Sharks and then we had another which was like half piece articulated so we could do close ups to the mouth when he came out of the water you know, and also we had this sort of puppet to use to put it at the background if you need it for a shot or something…So I attempted to do most of it in camera because its better than in CGI…you have water moving and if you need something moving on water on CGI, you need that kind of vibe moving. In special effects, it’s better to blow stuff up using a bunch of cameras than doing it all on CGI, because you have to create something and we did it and used it which is great and that was the aim of it.
We used the CGI only for the shoots we could not achieve with the animatronics.
How hard was working with electrical stuff, collapsing sets and water the whole time?
Kimble Rendall: Those stuff were in the finishing week…it was very amazing, very noisy…I nearly fell over Xavier Samuel.
Lincoln Lewis: We`ll add that on the director’s cut
Kimble Rendall: For an Aussie movie, we don`t really do this kind of stuff you know, like blowing stuff, etc…we even originally had a car falling over the Shark so it was pretty boring and that’s when we decided to blow the whole set off.
Kimble, you worked with the Wachowski Brothers in The Matrix, that’s a huge special effects thing too, so were there something you kind of learnt from them?
Kimble Rendall: A lot, I learnt a lot doing the second unit…When I was asked to do The Matrix, a friend of mine rang me, his name is Steve Andrews and works in a lot of movies around the world, so he is probably one of the most successful assistant directors worldwide. He rings up and said: “They don`t want a traditional second unit guy, they want someone who can do action visual effects and work with actors and do a bunch of things…are you interested in doing it?” and I was like…”no” because I did horror movies and I wanted to direct films so I did not want to do second unit.
So he tells me “you are an idiot…I`ll ring you back”…So I started to thinking about it…Warner Brothers, biggest studio in the world…and he rings me again and ask me “Do you wanna do The Matrix?” and I was like “Yeeees…well, I`ll go for the interviews”, so then I met the brothers and yes I got the job.
Then I went to the set, one of the most gigantic Hollywood sets you know, full of green screens and I asked this guy Ray Brown, “Brownie we need more green screens” and he was like “El Presidente, there is no more green screens in the world” So yes, it was a great introduction to Hollywood filmmaking and I loved it so much that later I was asked to do I, Robot so one thing lead to another and I had a great time and learnt a lot too on the way.
There’s a lot of humor in the film – Were there lots too off set?
Lincoln Lewis: Sure, we had a lot of fun! Absolutely!
Kimble Rendall: We had a great bunch of people. I’m not saying it because he’s here but Lincoln was the life and soul because he kept it bubbling along. That’s what he’s like on set too – the energy. And that’s what you need on these things because it’s hard enough and if you have one performer that’s going to be grumpy and hard to get on with, it stuffs up the whole thing. Even Julian brought an Ice Cream Truck oneday and paid for free massages.
Lincoln Lewis: One thing I’ve never seen before, I rocked up on the last day of the because we wanted to be there and Julian McMahon ordered an ice-cream truck to sit outside the sound studio all day and crew would be coming out after every take to get ice-cream. So he paid, it was all paid for, everybody was getting free ice-cream and apparently massages as well…and then after the production was finished, everyone was cheering and making speeches and Kimble was nowhere to be seen and we didn`t know what was going on because El Presidente was gone! He left the building.
“Julian McMahon ordered an ice-cream truck to sit outside the sound studio all day and crew would be coming out after every take to get ice-cream. So he paid, it was all paid for, everybody was getting free ice-cream and apparently massages as well”
So after the speeches, someone said “now we will welcome El President” and suddenly Mexican music started playing, like Viva La Revolucion, then our biggest crew member, really muscle dudes showed up with plastic machine guns shooting water in the air and this massive motor crane with this gigantic print of Kimble holding massive machine gun. And he is just sitting on the passenger seat like this big dictator and they even put flags with sharks on the motor crane like it was the country of the sharks and he stands out and start waving the flags and everyone was like “Yeahhhhh!”…as if we were just free from an evil warlord ha ha…I`ve never seen anything like that before.
So why ‘El Presidente’?
Kimble Rendall: That started during The Matrix because I`ve done a couple of commercials and this camera man used to call me El Presidente so every time I asked if we can get this shot done, he always said something like “Si Presidente”.
So we went to do The Matrix and then Toby Pease said you have to do a speech on Friday night, so I did the speech and I put a couple of jokes and everyone loved it because we did this movie for over a year, hundreds of days nonstop, so on Friday night I wanted to do something fun. Next Friday comes on and I was very tired, very stuffed…so all the actors were asked to do a reshoot by the brothers and the producers were like “Kimble is gonna do it” so at that stage I haven`t met all of them, just a few of them…so I was stuffed by the end of the week and he comes again and says “hey you have to make a speech” and I was like “What? I cannot do this every Friday” and he was like, “well, everyone loved the last one….” So every Friday I was in charge of doing a speech until the point where more people were coming every Friday and it got bigger and bigger until the point that we had this huge sets with a balcony so I used to go out there with flags and more people kept coming and the executive producer came and told me “This has to stop because I’m losing my crew every Friday night”
So the highlight was when we had all these Smiths lined up in the rain on the street set with all the stuff and puppets….there was Dave from the Hoodoo Gurus, he performed and I came from the street in a Dolly with all the booze and there were like 300 or 400 people so Dave performed and it was huge…so I thought…this has to stop, I cannot get myself bigger, so I had to make myself be kidnapped ha ha and I disappeared and put a video later like El Presidente has been found and came out on the finishing week.
Lincoln Lewis: It was also cool with even Cariba and I, we have all these fights between characters, so Kimble used to come and say this is the script but if you want to change or add something to make it more natural, just do it. So it was cool to have the freedom to do that…It was funny because Kimble was the captain of this, like Jack Sparrow or Barbosa…or maybe both…like a mix ha ha
Anyway, you are only as the people you work with, Cariba was great and Alex (Russell) was so determined to get everything right
Kimble Rendall. Yeah…he is ultra perfectionist.
Just to start wrapping up this…Lincoln, what was the main difference between working with Kimble and with M. Night Shyamalan?
Lincoln Lewis: Well, mostly they are not much differences because they are both like great. Well, he (Shyamalan) was great to work with…Night…we called him Night…
You know what, it was pretty much the same, well obviously different settings for different films and what they are about but M. Night and Kimble, both of them will come to the set every day full of energy and ready to start and no matter what was going on, they always have the time to explain things and be calm and cool with you.
We used to crack jokes on the set, to lighten the mood…like once we were shooting in Utah and Night came to us and says ok, that`s what’s happening and this is how it`s gonna be, and he just starts pulling his glasses off slowly, just acting like he was stoned and when we were doing the Bait scenes, Kimble used to come over and say with the microphone “Ok, that was good, great” and we said to him “so its ok…or can we change anything” and he said “Yeah, please don`t make it sh** make it good” and I was like “Damn Kimble” ha ha
So it was cool, both of them were great, they have this happy energy, it was great, very encouraging. I think it was just a difference between jobs.
Lincoln, you already worked Will Smith and Julian McMahon…Who is next on your wish list to work with?
Lincoln Lewis: Tom Hardy. After seeing him in The Warrior, he is incredible. He is sort of that kind of guy. When we were doing Bait, I was watching two things mainly. A lot of Will Smith scenes and also a lot of Blood Diamond and because there’s such intensity and things escaladed so crazy, it’s good to see their focus, how the pros do it and watch how they do things like that. These days before I audition, I watch Warrior to see Tom Hardy and see how he does it.
Just to quickly finish, it’s good to see genre movies in Australia…so what do you guys think is the status of the our film industry in Australia and where is it leading off to?
Lincoln Lewis: It`s growing, it’s one of those thing that is taking a while to get there, because Australia hasn`t done many like mainstream films. There is nothing wrong with these indie films we`d done, on the contrary its great but you know in order to grow, you have to make everyone come to see the film, bringing in the audience and that’s what mainstream does. That’s where the money is.
So Australia is starting to get there but we have to keep going, that’s why I`m thrilled that Bait has been made…Also films like Tomorrow, When The War Begins, The Sapphires you know, mainstream films for the audience that you can go with more people, like I’ll go with my mates or maybe my dad but I don`t think my sister would go…you know what I mean…so you want something that is for everyone. It’s like in Bait, I would not take my 90 year old grandma to see it but I`d take my mates, my brother and my family to see it…so that’s my take, it’s growing and it’s starting to get there on the mainstream thing and a commercial way to bring us in the money so we can keep going and going.
Kimble Rendall: I would add that we need to do more genre films, more horror films, more action because there are audiences for it and there are actors here, crew here that are not working and they can do different types of movies. Just look at this film, its sold around the world, it’s going out in China in 700 screens, so it’s huge and with this basic idea of just “Sharks in a Supermarket”. It’s a fun film…so…Bring it on!
Thanks guys for your time and for this great interview!
ONLY AT THE MOVIES SEPTEMBER 20