Director Kimble Rendall talks Bait 3D
A film centred around sharks attacking people in a flooded supermarket isn’t often compared to the work of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright and actor Sam Shepard. But leave aside the unique challenges of shooting in water for nine weeks with actors (including children) standing on shelves, and a mix of animatronic and computer-generated sharks – all captured in 3D – and that’s exactly what you’re left with according to director Kimble Rendall.
“Once we were working with the actors it was a bit like doing a Sam Shepard play on the stage because it really was like a theatre. There were eight actors out on the set and they don’t really leave,” although he laughingly adds “some of them leave – not by choice.”
It is still a shark movie after all.
It begins with former couple Josh (Xavier Samuel) and Tina (Sharni Vinson) who come face-to-face in a supermarket for the first time in a year just before a robbery takes place. A tsunami then traps them in an underground supermarket along with other survivors from the store as hungry great white sharks begin to hunt them.
Such mainstream-oriented films in the action-thriller genre haven’t always been popular in Australia but things have changed since the Producer Offset tax rebate was introduced in 2007.
“It’s basically a high-concept genre film that has an idea that sort of intrigues people – it has an audience and they know they can sell it,” Rendall says. The idea of making films and going completely broke is ok for some people but most people want to make money out of it.”
Bait has been sold in all territories and will also be shown in cinemas in China. It attracted significant government support from both the Australian and Singapore government bodies. It was filmed in Australia at Queensland’s Village Roadshow Studios but edited and graded in Singapore, where the government hopes to foster a 3D hub.
The production (the film was shot in mid-2010) required two major sets: a full-working supermarket and a multi-storey car park that was flooded. The sharks were a mix of animatronics and CGI – the visual effects and 3D overseen by fast-growing company Blackmagic Design.
“They had software developers – as we were discovering things in the 3D they would write software for it and that… fed back to James Cameron in LA. So our little film was sort of an experiment in progress for a lot of the 3D work that was happening elsewhere.”
Rendall says he had some trepidation about using animatronic sharks – the three mechanical sharks used in 70s-classic Jaws were prone to failure – but was pleasantly surprised. “We ended up using more of the animatronics than I thought we could – once they had it swimming you couldn’t tell the difference.” The animatronics were overseen by Grant Lehman and Makeup FX’s Steve Boyle.
Other notable cast in Bait include Julian McMahon (Nip/Tuck), Phoebe Tonkin (Tomorrow When the War Began), Martin Sacks (Underbelly), Alice Parkinson (The Cup), Dan Wyllie (The Hunter) Alex Russell (Chronicle), Lincoln Lewis (Tomorrow When the War Began), Cariba Heine (The Pacific) and high-profile Singaporean stars Qi Yuwu (Founding Of A Party) and Adrian Pang (I Do I Do).
Bait is released in cinemas by Paramount on September 20.
Behind the Scenes
Camera setup: RED ONE with Mysteria maxchips, Panavision lenses and Preston lens control systems. Two Quasar stereo RED rigs above water and one Silicon Imaging 2K stereo rig recording Cineform data files for underwater scenes (Supplier: Panavision Australia)
Location: Village Roadshow Studios
VFX: Blackmagic Design
Animatronics: Grant Lehman and Makeup FX’s Steve Boyle
3D Workflow software: DaVinci Resolve, Avid, Editshare, Cine-tal Davio