In the new movie ‘Breath,’ director Simon Baker didn’t care that his two young leads had never acted--as long as they could ride the waves. Baker is a surfer and actor himself--he spent years as the star of the CBS series ‘The Guardian’ and ‘The Mentalist.’ He talks about taking a big leap with ‘Breath’--shot in a remote corner of his native Australia with lots of filming on wild waves in unpredictable weather. He also tells us about keeping his Aussie accent under wraps when he first started auditioning for American television.
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The new movie ‘Breath’ tells story of two teenage boys coming of age in a remote corner of western Australia during the 1970s.
Based on a novel of the same name by Tim Winton, ‘Breath’ follows the boys, Pikelet and Loonie, discovering a new passion: surfing. Pikelet, played by Samson Coulter, is more cautious than his aptly named friend Loonie, played by Ben Spence.
Early in the film, the boys encounter Sando, a bohemian one-time surfing legend who becomes a kind of guru to them. Sando is played by Simon Kaker, who also directed and co-wrote the film. ‘Breath’ is his feature film directorial debut.
If you ever watched the CBS series ‘The Guardian’ or ‘The Mentalist,’ you’re familiar with Baker’s work as a television actor. In ‘The Mentalist,’ he played former con man Patrick Jane--advisor to the California Bureau of Investigation. Jane would claim to be psychic while using keen observational skills to solve crimes.
You may have noticed in recent years that many leading men on american TV shows were not actually made in the USA. But when Baker started started auditioning for TV in this country, he tried to downplay that fact. He tells us why he would try to do the audition before anyone could catch his true accent, and about using all his time in TV as a film school for directing.
Plus, he shares what it was like to direct ‘Breath’ on a tiny budget, with intense weather, wild waves, and two leads who were acting for the first time. He also talks about how he handled the tricky relationship in the film between a young boy and a much older woman.
Simon Baker, actor, writer, director
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