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Nassau Guardian: Hollywood Film Advances Bahamian Talent
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Posted by:Feb 16th 2004, 01:09:33 pm
KimberlyMovie to pump $15 to $20 million into the economy
Guardian Staff Reporter

'Into the Blue,' the movie is expected to pump between $15 and $20 million into the Bahamian economy by the time it wraps up in mid-March. The movie has been shooting in and around New Providence since Jan. 12.

According to Associate Producer and Local Casting Director Erin Mast, who recently spoke to The Nassau Guardian, 42 key speaking roles have been filled by Bahamian talent.

"Being here for the past six months has been amazing," said Mast. "Our mission was to cast as much of the supporting cast, as well as all the extra roles in The Bahamas with non-actors." She said excitedly, "We have been very successful in doing that." Some persons have larger parts and more lines, while others have less substantial lines.

Meantime Unit Publicist, David Linck for MGM's 'Into the Blue' movie, said, "The film involves the crash of an airplane that is carrying cocaine from South America." The plane, he said, goes down in a storm off New Providence.

"No one knows that the plane has crashed until local divers Paul Walker, Jessica Alba, Scott Caan and Ashley Scott are diving, looking for treasure and they come upon this airplane. The rest of the film is about their adventures being chased by the owners of the plane," the publicist summarised.

"It is very much a film written to be based in Nassau," he said.

The movie stars consist of Paul Walker (Fast and the Furious/ Timeline), Jessica Alba (Dark Angel, Honey), Josh Brolin (TV's Mr. Sterling star), Scott Caan (Co-star of Ocean's 11) and Ashley Scott (Walking Tall). John Stockwell, who also directed Blue Crush and Crazy/Beautiful is the director, and Matt Johnson is the writer for the fast paced flick.

Bahamians naturally talented

Ms. Mast praised Bahamians for their professionalism on the set, even though most have not acted in a movie before. "The director and I were speaking about how natural people are... there is a lot of raw talent here," she said, while noting that people were not inhibited. "What we found in The Bahamas is that people have sort of a rhythm and a style, that instead of overacting they are just very real," Ms. Mast said.

The authentic Bahamian flavour is quite evident in scenes that they have shot so far, the cast director said.

In addition she said, "The community has been really positive and the talent is awesome. In my opinion, it makes being in The Bahamas what it is - it's the people. The ocean is beautiful, as well as the sky, but you can get that in a lot of places, but the local colour and people have made shooting what it is."

Additionally, Mr Mast said the actors and local extras interact well on the set.

"The one thing that we do have to ask of extras is that they do follow the proper procedures," she said, admitting that at no time, have they had to manage the behaviour of the extras since the commencement of shooting for ITB.

She also thanked Peppa Johnson, her assistant for all her efforts in networking to get the best people for the movie. Ms. Mast said Johnson assisted in making her job much easier.

Local companies utilised

"We are spending about $15 to $20 million by the time we are done here," the unit publicist, said emphasising that those moneys are going directly into the Bahamian economy. Moreover Mr. Linck said, "We also used as many local business suppliers as we can for, our materials and food." He said the movie is also working with Stuart Cove, who is contracted as a reef and dive consultant. "He helps us ensure that we take care of the reef when we are out of the water."

About 200 people were brought in for the movie from the United States with 150 local persons being added to that number.

In addition, the movie would have employed about 1,500 local extras by the time the movie shooting is wrapped up.

Mr. Linck also was of the view that, "Bahamians are some of the friendliest people that he has met." After working six days a week, 12-hour days, Mr. Linck said, it was nice to go home to a pleasant hotel room and enjoy good food.

Confined to Permit

"In terms of dealing with safety above and below the water, we go to extreme precautions to make sure that we use as many safeguards as we can for the people and the land," he said. "The Bahamas Environmental Science Technology (BEST) Commission has overseen every part of our film, as well as the different Government ministries," stressing that "we adhere to the permits strictly."

"The DC3 airplane that used to be in front of the Nassau International Airport, is one of our planes that that we are using. We bought two other exact models of the same plane. Two of them have been sunk in sandy areas off of the shore and another one is being used in a large tank at the Bacardi Refinery, where we will be shooting close-ups of the underwater work. It's dangerous to shoot the actors underwater, so we use a tank which we have painted blue inside," he said, stressing that no reefs have been damaged, at all.

He also said that the film has probably shot more underwater footage than any other movie made.

In an effort to get as many Bahamians in the film as extras, as possible, Ms. Mast said that all interested persons should leave their name, age, and phone number on the extras hotline 380-0506.

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