Pro-surfer Bethany Hamilton made international headlines after losing her left arm in a shark attack in 2004. Determined to keep competing, Hamilton’s inspirational comeback has moved people worldwide, and this weekend the surfer will gear up for the release of her feature film, Soul Surfer, starring AnnaSophia Robb, Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid and Carrie Underwood. We we’re fortunate enough to sit down with Ms. Hamilton and Ms. Robb to discuss their work on the picture.
Check out the interview below…
Bethany, your practically a household name. Is this your first real taste of Hollywood?
Bethany Hamilton: Kind of. I’ve been to another movie premiere, and the ESPY awards, is that Hollywood? That was kind of cool. I knew what to expect a little bit, but it was more exciting because it was my movie. Having AnnaSophia, all the actors, all the new friends I’ve made and my family and friends from Hawaii were there. We had a blast.
You handpicked AnnaSophia for the role, what made her the correct fit?
Bethany Hamilton: She’s a very good actor and she looks [the part], you know, blonde hair… I felt like she matched who I was. We did a little research online. I was just very picky about the person that would play me. She did amazing. It’s kind of weird when I’m talking about her when she’s right here.
AnnaSophia were you flattered to be Bethany’s first choice?
AnnaSophia Robb: I was incredibly flattered. I was so excited about the role. I was really curious to the ins and outs of Bethany Hamilton. I thought it’d be a really challenging role. Sean said, “You know, Bethany and her mom, you were the first recommendation for the role and I was like “No way!” It became even better, I was so down to play her.
Are you still surfing? And what did your training entail?
AnnaSophia Robb: Yes! I’m going out tomorrow! Not to Bethany’s extent, but I do love it. I just love getting out there, just being in the sun, in the water. Being at peace. It was a ton of work, I worked really hard for about 6 weeks in the ocean. I remember the first time I went out I was so excited, all giddy. The first time I went out I was with Bethany’s surf coach, Russell, and Bethany came out. The whole entire Hamilton family was on the beach with a camera filming my first surf and I was like “Ohhhh my gosh!”
Bethany Hamilton: She came out to visit me during Christmas break this winter and got in the water, that was really special. She’s a natural! She did really well. Surfing is one of those things that takes years, but she was motivated.
Bethany, was it difficult to watch AnnaSophia recreate the most traumatic experience of your life?
Bethany Hamilton: For the most part I’ve healed really well form the actually shark attack, so it wasn’t really hard to watch. The first couple edits I was concerned about overly dramatizing things as far as the attack scene. I was very blessed to be able to go into the editing room and give feedback. Editing is a huge part of movie making, it can be a completely different movie depending on how you edit it. The firstst edit I wasn’t happy, I thought we needed to tone this down a little. In real life it was really quick. Fast and painless. Literally.
AnnaSophia, outside of your performance what have you taken from Bethany’s story? How has she inspired you as an individual?
AnnaSophia Robb: Looking at the big picture. They say when man makes plans God laughs. That’s kinda what it seems like. This happened to her and instead of giving up her dreams she went, “No, this is something I love and am going to continue doing.” Bethany has didn’t ask for all this fame and press. She feels like it’s not her duty, but a privilege that she can share this. Instead of looking like it as a curse, she sees it as a gift
Catch Soul Surfer Friday, April 8th – nationwide!