Naomi Watts pulls off "The Impossible" to critical acclaim

Tue Dec 18, 2012 4:21pm EST
 

By Zorianna Kit

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Days after the devastating 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, actress Naomi Watts took part in a fundraising telethon spearheaded by George Clooney to help the region's hundreds of thousands of people in 14 nations whose lives were shattered.

Little did Watts know that eight years later she would be starring in "The Impossible," out in the U.S. movie theaters on Friday, about a real family's experience in Thailand. The tsunami and earthquake killed more than 5,000 people, and resulted in 2,800 missing in that country alone.

Yet when the actress was first approached to star in the film, directed by Spanish filmmaker Juan Antonio Bayona, she hesitated.

"I thought, how do you make a movie about a tsunami without it becoming some sort of spectacular disaster movie?" Watts, 44, told Reuters. "That would be so wrong."

However once Watts read the script, she said was moved by the story based on the real-life Spanish family of Maria Belon, her husband Enrique Alvarez - played by Ewan McGregor in the movie - and their three sons.

Belon's family were spending their Christmas holiday in Thailand when the tsunami hit. The film follows their struggle to survive, injured and separated, in the aftermath and their perseverance in finding each other amidst the chaos.

"I felt a huge amount of pressure because of the responsibility to Maria's story," said Watts. "And on her back, she carries the stories of everybody else because hers is connected to the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. I felt a sense of responsibility."

PLAUDITS FOR WATTS' PERFORMANCE   Continued...

 
Actress Naomi Watts arrives at the premiere of the movie "The Impossible" at Arclight Cinema in Hollywood, California December 10, 2012. REUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon