The coming-of-age story, Breath is based on the acclaimed, Tim Winton novel of the same name. It is about two adolescent boys named Pikelet and Loonie who learn to surf thanks to a chance meeting with a former professional named Sando (Simon Baker). The film has just been released on Blu-ray and features several hours of bonus material including a behind the scenes featurette, set tour and extensive interviews with Winton, the cast and crew. Here are five things we learned from the extras:
1. Actor, Simon Baker makes his directorial debut here. A surfer himself, he was actually shooting The Mentalist during pre-production for this film. In fact, Baker was apparently discussing the script in between takes whilst shooting the American drama series.
2. Tim Winton has written 28 books and by his own admission, most of these touch on and celebrate the regional city of Albany, where he lived for around four years as a teenager. Breath is set in the fictional town of Sawyer in Southern WA.
3. Shane Thomas who was the hair and make-up designer in Breath also worked on The Dressmaker film. For the former he happened to find a photograph of his eight year old self to draw on as inspiration. For Elizabeth Debicki’s character, Eva the look was based on Joni Mitchell.
4. The production crew received some 1000 submissions from boys vying for the roles of Loonie and Pikelet. They eventually settled on two non-actors, Ben Spence and Samson Coulter who are excellent surfers. This surfing prowess was an important attribute because the boys do their own paddling and surfing through the water and they aren’t towed in for the former, like actors on many other film shoots.
5. This film was almost shot in California. Winton had some reservations about letting the production invade his quote “secret place” in WA. But the decision to shoot locally paid off because the final output is stunning. The crew also found the world’s best fish and chips at the Peaceful Bay Caravan Park. Not a bad perk?
Breath is available on Blu-Ray and DVD now. You can read our review of the film HERE.