Ericson Core’s new action thriller, “Point Break,” is an exciting, heart-racing, adrenaline-fueled and fast paced reimagining of the 1991 classic about FBI agent Johnny Utah (Luke Bracey) who infiltrates a duplicitous team of thrill-seeking athletes led by the charismatic Bodhi (Edgar Ramirez). Core takes the themes of the original film and brings them to bear on the world of 2015. The movie features world renowned extreme sports athletes in big wave surfing, wingsuit flying, sheer-face snowboarding, free rock climbing, and high-speed motocross riding. Many of them performed daring stunts or served as stunt coordinators and technical advisors on the production ensuring that the action sequences are authentic and unlike anything audiences have ever seen before in a narrative film.
At the recent press day, Core, Ramirez, Bracey, wingsuit stunt pilot Jeb Corliss, professional free climber Chris Sharma, Alcon producers Andrew A. Kosove and Broderick Johnson, and 2nd unit director Philip Boston talked about how they went about creating the ultimate sports movie, how the actors viewed their characters and built the bro-mance, the challenges of coordinating a production that shot around the world in 11 countries and on 4 continents, why all the 2nd unit work was shot prior to the first unit work, why vision and authenticity were paramount, why the imagination, energy and focus required to shoot a film in camera is much greater than when visual effects are used everywhere, and why it took courage to make this film.
Check it all out in the interview below:
QUESTION: Ericson, how cohesive and how important was it in your coordination and design of this film with your principal photography and the second unit to have this cohesive flow and showcase everything as well as you did?
ERICSON CORE: That’s a good question. It was extraordinarily important. Because of all the locations in the world that we shot, 11 countries, 4 continents, it was impossible for us to coordinate and do it all. That was how I did it on “Invincible.” The second unit person and I did all of that which was great. In this case, it required specialty people such as Phil (Boston) and Mic (Rodgers) to do specialty units and shoot in different areas. But I tried to approach it differently. Knowing and working as a DP for a long time, I thought it was very important, so I did something very unique on this film that isn’t typically done. Phil and I talk about this a lot. We shot all the second unit work prior to the first unit work. That was incredibly important to me because I know the difference. In a standard feature film, you go up, you set up a scene, you decide to shoot it, and you put your guys in positions, your actors, and you say, “Okay, great. Cut! Alright, let the stunt guys take over.” And they go, “Well, they weren’t really standing in the right place. They weren’t doing it properly for the sport. It doesn’t really make sense, but the check clears. We’re going to do it.” And that’s typically the way it’s done. In this case, based on the weather environments and the conditions, it was extremely important to be authentic. That was why Chris (Sharma), Jeb (Corliss), Xavier De Le Rue, and so many of the other renowned talents got involved with us because my promise was to do it authentically and for real. As a result, it was very important to do the action unit first to understand what the conditions were, what Mother Nature was giving us, and what was possible, and push the limits to the extreme. Then, through that, we integrated very carefully with our athletes and with our second unit teams in order to get Luke, Edgar, and the other actors to do exactly what was necessary to be accurate. We wanted to have no BS in the film. We wanted to make sure that no one from any extreme sport, whether it be surfing, snowboarding, climbing, base jumping and wing suiting looked at it and said, “That’s wrong. What you guys did was completely wrong. It was a Hollywood version of our stuff. We were doing it more to document it and have it in reality.” So, that was incredibly important.
Q: For Edgar and Luke, you’re both big fans of the original 1991 “Point Break.” How much did Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves affect what you wanted to do with this? Can you both talk about how you see your characters in this movie?
LUKE BRACEY: Along with Edgar, I am a huge fan of the original. Growing up on Sydney’s golden beaches as a surfer my whole life in the ‘90s, for me, it was a movie me and my friends almost watched on a weekly basis. We’d get up and watch it to psych ourselves up to go surfing. We’d get 10 minutes in and go, “I’m going to go surfing now!” It just gives you that vibe. The original movie has such an ethos. You say weight around it. I don’t think it’s a weight at all. I think it’s an inspiration. It’s something that really colors this film, talking of what Keanu and Patrick did. For me, I just see it as the heart and soul of it. We’re making a different film, but with that ethos, with that heart, with that drive, with that ideal, and what life’s about, and that you should go out and get it. Rather than hanging over us, I thought it helped us and inspired us. It gave us the direction that, for me anyway, we could then make our Utah and our Bodhi unique in a way, but still have that bare bones and that backbone that the original did, and to go on from there and to make something new and something for 2015 and 2016 rather than 1991. I think it helped. I’m a big fan. I mean, for me, the passion involved in making it, I gave this film absolutely everything I’ve got because I love it so much.
EDGAR RAMIREZ: Unlike Luke, I didn’t grow up surfing or by the ocean. So, for me, it was a totally new and exciting experience to get a taste of what surfing is and the rest of the sports that we were allowed to practice, because definitely, there was no way to get a taste of proximity to it. There’s no way unless you’re willing to die and that’s not the case. But one of the things that I learned is that there’s no wave identical to the next. That happened only once. To catch that wave and ride that wave, it’s a moment that will happen only once in your life, and you hold onto that memory, and that’s it. There’s no way to repeat that or to recreate that. I think that it happens the same way with characters. What Keanu and Patrick did was unique. It was beautiful, and it was not susceptible to being recreated. What we tried, as Luke said, was to capture the essence of the tale. We could speak for hours about what “Point Break” is and about the differences between the world 25 years ago and the world right now. I’m very happy to talk about that, because the promise of accumulation and being successful financially and accumulating material goods, it’s a promise that Reaganism left us, and 25 years later, it got broken. Our movie pretty much recreates the broken dream, and the broken promise of capitalism and trickle down theories saving us. But not to get too intense, I think in this movie, the main theme and the main metaphor, which is something that Keanu and Patrick really portrayed amazingly and served as a great inspiration for us, is that whatever you do in life, do it with passion and do it to the fullest. You don’t have to put on a black wingsuit and try to proximity fly above the earth. You don’t have to get on a surfboard and then go and try to ride the highest and the tallest wave. You just have to commit to what you love in life, whatever that is. It doesn’t have to be extravagant or spectacular. You just have to live it to the fullest and with the most extreme passion that you can possibly achieve.
Q: Luke, you had stunt doubles for the more technical and difficult things that might put your life in danger, but what about the fighting where you got to do some of the physical stuff yourself? What was the most challenging part of the film for you?
BRACEY: The physical aspect of this movie was something that really drew me to it. As I said, I grew up surfing and snowboarding and skateboarding and doing all these things. So, it’s something that’s very close to me. I really wanted to do everything I could until the pros took over, until the real guys got to do what they do best. For me, that was the exciting part. The fight scene we had was very fun. We wanted that to be as unpolished as possible. You see some fight scenes in movies, and they’re pretty choreographed, and you can see the choreography. We wanted it to be pretty dirty. There’s a few elbows and head butts and sometimes knees to below the belt that are not so clean, and that was really fun. We rehearsed for maybe three weeks with that, so we could get it as intense as possible, but also have that rawness to it. For me, I think being able to get to these places where they perform these stunts and to hang off Angel Falls a kilometer above the earth at 3,000 feet, I mean that’s some stuff you can’t buy on the green screen. That said, you’re all tied in and it’s all safe, but there’s still a part of your brain going, “What are you doing there? What are you doing? Your mother’s going to kill you!” If I don’t get killed first. I’d say, “Turn the cameras on in case I fall, because then at least it’s on film.” But yeah, for me, the physical aspect of it and really putting ourselves as close as we could to it before the pros took over was a great asset to us in terms of really embodying Utah for me and Bodhi for Edgar. You put yourself into these positions, and when you were scared or you were apprehensive, you just went, “I’m Johnny Utah! Right? Get in there!” And that was great for me. I loved it. The whole physical aspect of it was another side of it that just added to the experience for me. Maybe the hardest thing was probably the schedule, to tell you the truth, and keeping my energy up for those six months of principal photography when you were there every day for 14 hours. Sometimes we were 1200 feet above sea level, and sometimes we were 30 feet below it, and in all these different environments. The hardest thing for me was maintaining myself, and making sure I was fit and healthy, and had all the energy, and mentally I was right for those six months. I’m really proud of how I managed that and now we’ve got to the end of it.
Q: Andrew and Broderick, how in the world did you put this whole thing together and give us something that we’ve never, ever seen before?
BRODERICK JOHNSON: Well Chris Taylor, one of our producing partners, came into our office with the writer, Kurt Wimmer, and John Baldecchi. They brought us the project actually. Andrew and I were very interested in the film because it seemed to be a really interesting, entertaining update on the original. One of the key things we did in deciding to actually make the film, as opposed to just acquire it, was when we introduced it to Ericson and he brought his vision and authenticity to it in trying to make it as real and as grounded as possible. That was the origins of it.
ANDREW KOSOVE: It’s very rare to have an opportunity to do something where you can put something on the screen that’s really never before been seen. We’ve done a lot of movies at Alcon, some very successful, some less successful. But, we’ve made a lot of them, and what we’ve really never done before is have the opportunity to create images for people that are singular. We felt that with Ericson’s vision and with the ideas behind the script that we could create a film that would show people a world they had never really seen before. I think the interesting thing is there is a connectivity to the original film, and Jeb (Corliss) can speak to this a little bit. The extreme sports world really did not exist circa 1991 when the original picture came out. There were no X Games. It’s before the time of proximity flying and so on and so forth. The movie was really an inspiration for a world that has been created since the movie. It was very interesting to be able to go back now and really show what world has come out of the original “Point Break.” In a way, it’s a reimagining of the film. In its own bizarre way, it’s almost a sequel in the sense that it’s “Point Break 2.0.” It’s a different universe now. A lot of the sports didn’t exist at the time and the camera technology to be able to execute it in the way that Ericson was able to execute it. And then, on top of that, as Edgar was so articulate in saying, the thematic ideas of the original film in a lot of ways are even more relevant today than they were in 1991. I mean, if you think about the nature of love, the accumulation today, multinational corporations, the issues we have with our environment being destroyed, and so on and so forth, 1991 seems like 25 or 50 years ago. We felt ultimately both from a thematic and storytelling standpoint, and also from the standpoint of visually, that it was a film that could be unique and stand on its own and have connectivity to the original. What really though made it all possible is the people who are sitting up here on the dais, least of all myself and Broderick. I don’t know any director really who could have made this movie this way other than Ericson. Ericson is a very humble guy so I’ll speak for him, but the imagination and energy and focus required to shoot a film in camera is much, much greater than when you’re using visual effects everywhere. When you’re coming on a sound stage, and there are donuts in the back of the hall, and you put up a big green screen, that’s one type of filmmaking. But when you actually go to Angel Falls and by din of that give the audience the opportunity to go somewhere they’ve never gone before, when you go to Walenstadt and you fly through The Crack and you do that for real, that requires an extraordinary amount of vision. And so, Ericson has been an unbelievable partner. Then again, Edgar and Luke underplay a little bit a great deal of the work in the movie they did, and that also required not just great performance from an acting standpoint but a tremendous amount of energy and also humility. This is a movie where everyone on the movie in Venezuela was living literally in tents to be able to film, where there’s no Four Seasons at the base of Angel Falls. So, we found a filmmaker, we found actors, and we found athletes who were going to help us with the vision we saw for the film. We feel very humble and grateful.
Q: Edgar and Luke, can you talk about your toughest scene, and did you have any phobias, such as a fear of heights or water or anything like that going into this?
RAMIREZ: The toughest? The whole movie was tough, as Andrew was saying, not to mention the stunts, and the guys more directly involved will elaborate on that. The entire film, just to have access to those locations, was already a challenge for everyone, not only for the ones directly involved, but for everyone – the makeup and hair department. We all have to be clicked up all the time. We all have to be very carefully following security protocols because we shot on top of Angel Falls. We shot on top of Mont Blanc, the highest peak in Europe. We shot under waterfalls and constant rain where the temperature would be super high. Like literally, if you were in the sun, the difference in degrees would be 20 degrees from shadow and from sun when we were in Boca de Dragon in Venezuela shooting the beginning of the climb towards the top of Angel Falls. It was like shooting in a shower for everyone. It was tough, but it was tough fun. These guys took all the precautions. We never really felt like something bad was going to happen. We felt very safe, but you had to be really on top of your game to shoot this film. Of course, we both hung from the highest waterfall in the world, and we kept pushing ourselves up to get to the top, and I let myself go. We were both climatized and hypnotized and psyched into it, and it was very revealing. It was tough. I didn’t think I had a fear of heights until then.
BRACEY: It’s a huge reaction, but I don’t feel like I’m too bad with heights. I mean, 3,000 feet is a long way for anyone. That’s just a big thing, and you’re standing on the edge of it. By the end of it, it’s not like you got used to it, but you just weren’t as freaked out. Maybe you got used to it to a degree. The amazing thing about it is whenever you see us standing on the edge of a cliff, we’re standing on the edge of a cliff. That helps with your motivation when you’re about to wingsuit proximity fly for the first time. When Johnny Utah is about to do that for the first time in the film, that’s the first time I stood on the edge of a cliff. That helped. But in terms of toughest scenes and phobias and stuff like that, I think I said it before, I really trusted in everyone around me, and that’s the only way you can make a movie really. It doesn’t matter what movie it is. You’ve got to trust every single person that’s involved. They’ve got to trust you and you’ve got to be in it together to come in for the big win. The great thing about this movie was that everyone involved was 100 percent committed and that’s what “Point Break” is all about. For me, that made the scenes easier, and it didn’t put the weight solely on one person or one thing or one part of the movie. The load was carried by all.
CORE: The one thing I want to say for both of these actors, that as much as we used extreme athletes and not stuntmen because there’s only a handful of people in the world that are capable of doing the things that we did, two of whom are sitting here on stage. But the actors themselves, it’s a very unique experience on this film to have such extreme people in the best sense of that word as actors, as craftsmen, in what they did. Every actor, especially Edgar and Luke, were put into extreme conditions, sleeping in tents, in freezing cold. When you meant 20 degrees difference, that’s in Celsius. People were getting hypothermia. So, even at Angel Falls, people were getting hypothermic literally from all being under waterfalls. And Edgar laughed through it and said, “Venezuelans wouldn’t get colder than the Mexican crew.” We had international crews everywhere. We had such incredible people who worked on them, and the actors were put into circumstances, not only that they didn’t have to be on green screen with tennis balls to talk to, but they were in real circumstances. The scene that is the testament to these two is a confessional scene where Utah is talking to Bodhi about his past, and Bodhi’s looking to the future. We were on Jungfrau in Switzerland, and we were in a location where we all had to get up by helicopter. We had moments when we had 40 crew people on top of the mountain, and the head mountaineering guy came to me, knowing that I have a background with a mountaineer, and said, “Everyone needs to leave now. There’s a storm coming in. It’s going to be here within 25 minutes. Everyone’s got to get off. We have ten helicopter loads.” Everyone was getting on and he turned to me and he said, “If you can get it down to two helicopter loads, which is 8 people, including the mountain guides, I’ll give you 20 minutes.” And I ran to tell every crewmember and threw them towards the helicopter as we got out of there. People left and the storm was rolling in, and I had turned to these guys in probably the most intense and beautiful scene between the two of these wonderful actors in an important scene in the movie, a very pivotal scene in terms of the connection between the two. I turned to them and I said, “Guys, we have 20 minutes before a storm rolls in. Otherwise, we’ll get stuck up here for the night, which is a sign of potential death. And we need to get it.” They delivered the most incredible scene and such beautiful truth. In a 20-minute performance, we got 8 pieces of coverage between myself and another mountaineering cameraman up on the mountain. Not a big crew. The crew was four or five people and then I had the actors. We did it. We got out of there. The storm closed out right where we poked through the clouds and dropped off.
RAMIREZ: Like in a movie, you could see the clouds rolling in behind the helicopter and those were, I have to tell, 20 Swiss minutes.
CORE: The point is the scenes that Luke and Edgar had to do were extraordinary, and their partnership with the extreme athletes in order for them to bring authenticity to it was beautiful and is rare among actors. We never looked at this as if it was a Hollywood film. We were an expedition. Truly, it was an expedition, and it was expedition mentality, which meant we all carried our own stuff. We all had backpacks. We carried our own gear. We worked together. We slept in tents next to each other. We worked very hard together, and it’s a very different experience. To get that level of performance that we got in the film with these actors I find to be one of our greatest feats.
RAMIREZ: I think I have the toughest scenes in the film, and I think Luke would agree with me, which were the very few scenes that we had to do on stage. Those were the toughest scenes to do in the film, because they were very boring.
BRACEY: Absolutely. I agree 100 percent. When you’ve been to these places, and then suddenly you’ve got two weeks in Studio Babelsberg in Germany, and it’s late October and it’s a bit cold, you’re going, “Uumph!” That was right before Venezuela and then Tahiti. Then suddenly, we’re surrounded by green for two weeks and we all went a bit crazy, because that was horrible.
RAMIREZ: That was the toughest scene, I think.
CORE: I ruined the actors for future movies.
Q: It is extreme filmmaking so that begs the question to Chris and to Jeb and probably to Phil, was there ever a moment when you just said, “Um, not gonna work! Can’t do it. We can’t do this.”?
JEB CORLISS: There are lots of moments like that. There’s lots of times when you want to try to capture something and it’s just not safe. The conditions aren’t right. The winds aren’t right. There were many times when we had to pull the wingsuit pilots off the mountain because weather came in. It just happens on these kinds of projects. That’s why luckily Alcon had the courage to do these things for real, because it takes courage to do this kind of stuff. Lots of companies nowadays, lots of movies today, they don’t have the courage so that’s why they go to green screen. It took courage to make this film. And, on top of that then, they made it out.
CHRIS SHARMA: We were all very fortunate that nothing happened during this whole process because filming up on Angel Falls, at least the part that I was involved with, there were a lot of moments where a lot of things can go wrong. You’re just walking on the top of the mountain and there’s these huge crevasses. There’s any number of things that could happen. So, it was a really good testament to everyone involved and our rigors and everybody’s to make it happen and we were able to stay safe.
PHIL BOSTON: I was tasked primarily with getting the surf sequences and the underwater sequences in the film. I think it is a testament to the courage that both Ericson has and the producers have to commit to actually doing big wave sequences in a motion picture. Angel Falls is there. It’s a finite thing that’s right there like Everest. It’s a mountain. It’s there. Waves aren’t like that. They pop up instantaneously. The thing is, and what a lot of people don’t realize, you have to forecast these waves, and you have to be there at exactly the right time when it happens. Of course, they’re among the biggest waves in the world and they got them. They had the foresight to actually have a wave period, much the same as what surfers do, to go out there and catch the biggest waves in the world. Ericson put a huge amount of time and effort to visualize how he saw choreographing the different sequences in the waves. If you see the poster, there’s this double wave sequence that we went after. That really was a world first. And from both the different surf days that we got that we gathered within the actual extreme sports surf community, I think they garnered four what’s called XXL or WSL Big Wave Awards from the actual shoot. Some of those shots are actually in the film. So, it wasn’t just from Teahupoo. It was from Jaws as well. So, not only did the movie garner these great waves, but it ended up becoming some of the greatest rides of that particular year of anywhere in the world. The film is so committed to getting the right waves that they pretty much cast a net across the whole Northern Hemisphere and said, “Phil, just get it wherever it is.” I’ve never been involved with a production that had that much conviction to going and getting it real with the right guys and the biggest waves of humanity. It was really a testament to what they were willing to do.
CORE: In terms of the partnerships with Phil, with Jeb, with Chris, and the other guys on the film, it wasn’t like him and his stunt people were just to do the action sequences. The reason we were in 11 countries and 4 continents was because we went after the Holy Grails of the extreme sports in each of these worlds. With waves, we had to go with where the weather patterns were. We were also looking at Portugal and Ireland. We were looking at Mavericks. We were looking at several places, and we went where the waves were. But, the reason we were in Switzerland was because of Jeb and flying The Crack in Walenstadt. We went there because Jeb said, “This is where we need to go to do the wingsuiting.” It’s the most extraordinary place. We went to Venezuela because of Chris. Chris and I had a conversation about the scene that we needed in the movie, what the beats were, and where we would go, and what was the most extreme Holy Grail of a place to go, and Chris said, “You need to go to Angel Falls.” We went to the places, so Jeb, Chris, Phil, these guys weren’t just doing a crew position on the film. They were partners and it was a collective in that way. So, it was a wonderful and unique experience that wave, but these guys are so much more. They’re filming partners to a very huge degree.
KOSOVE: If I can say one thing about the surfing specifically and what we were able to capture, as I was saying before, with surfing, I think most people consider “Point Break” the seminal surfing film as a narrative movie. There’s been some incredible documentary work that’s been done, but this was a narrative film. But there was no tow-in surfing in 1991, right? Tow-in surfing, which is the type of surfing that’s dramatized in our movie, comes subsequent to 1991. We were very lucky to have Laird Hamilton as part of our movie, who I believe worked on or was involved on the first “Point Break.” Subsequent to the first “Point Break,” Laird really is the godfather of tow-in surfing. And so, the type of surfing that we dramatize in this movie is the type of surfing that wasn’t part of the first film because it didn’t yet exist.
BOSTON: Laird invented that as well.
KOSOVE: So, it really shows both the connectivity to the original film, but at the same time how this is really a continuation, an advancement of what was done at that time.
BOSTON: Teahupoo, the wave that is featured in the poster, which is the tubing wave, it hadn’t even been discovered at the time. I think when they found Teahupoo, which was about five or six years after “Point Break” had come out, it was deemed completely unsurfable. The reason it was deemed unsurfable is just waves like that weren’t even surfed. We call them slab waves. I don’t know if this is interesting to anyone but surfers. They break with such ferocity that you have to enter them at about 40 or 50 miles per hour at a certain size to access them, because if you don’t, you’ll just go straight over the falls. It’s very shallow at Teahupoo, so you can impact the bottom, and unfortunately one of the surfers on the second wave did. People really were legitimately risking their lives and we had a couple close calls for sure.
Q: The core of the story in the 1991 movie was the bro-mance and the romantic triangle with the girl, but the action scenes are stronger in this movie. Why did you decide to do it this way?
CORE: We have the female character that Teresa Palmer plays in our film who is absolutely amazing. We changed a bit the thing in the original movie that damsel winds up becoming the person who gets kidnapped and becomes not as strong a female character as we wanted frankly. So, Teresa became a much stronger character, and frankly within the story, the wisest character in the film, someone who could see the other people and see their needs, and what it was is something outside of her own vision, but looking at other people, too, which I thought was a really brilliant and broader character. I do think there is the connection between these two, but we tried to go deep with it in terms of Bodhi coming from a world that most likely is where Utah came from, and he sees it, but also sees the broken parts of Utah that need to be picked up to be guided forward. In many ways, he tries to do that and bring him along. So that does become a connection or bro-mance, if you call it that, but on a deeper level hopefully for this version of it. That was very important for us to do that and also keeping that idea of the collective alive, not just these two people with some warm bodies around them, but there was this whole group in a sense, because that’s how the world works now. The world is not an individual place. We have to work collectively and we have to work internationally. And also, the reason that we went to an international cast. The idea was to have the music of the world and the voices of the world as a broader sense. So, it was to open it up into what the film is today compared to what it was in 1991, which we all love and were influenced by, but trying to make its own new world and watching Bodhi in this case run at the windmills and try to change the world. It’s a little bit of Man of La Mancha trying to do that. The heroism and the tragedy of that was a big part of our story.
Q: How did the GoPros influence your filming in this movie?
CORE: We didn’t use GoPros at all in the filming, because the quality of them was not good enough for the big screen that we wanted to do. But it is interesting that when I would look at action films, and there are some wonderful action films that are out there, and very successful from Marvel on through, it’s pretty clear that what’s happening in those films is not real. Once he gets thrown through a building, or a car drives from one to another, you realize that the sense of peril and the sense of reality isn’t there, which is fine for entertainment, but the authenticity of this real peril isn’t there. When I was researching much of this, looking at the GoPro footage also produced by Jeb and Chris and Xavier De Le Rue and the others in the film, you know that it’s real and there is an intensity to that. And so, the authenticity of what GoPro has brought out there in allowing athletes to bring the most extraordinary things to bear was very important to us. We had that mentality in terms of going wide and small and getting in the cameras in exactly those positions. But, instead of our cameras being tiny, the lightest we had was 15 pounds to get a proper motion picture camera, with a Red camera with a proper lens that was flown at 140 miles per hour in an Ione suit through The Crack in Switzerland or on waves. We used our version of it. That mentality was important as far as the authenticity of it, but we took it to a larger cinematic level.
BRACEY: GoPro on YouTube Channel is one of my favorite feature channels that I watch. It just opens you up to a world of absolute authenticity. As you say, they’re really giving it to the world. YouTube by itself has opened the world up to a lot of people. But now that we have that, if you’re going to do these stunts and these sports, people have seen what it actually looks like. So, you’ve got to do it right, otherwise they’re going to call it. Ericson having the courage to do it was phenomenal. That’s one of the big reasons why I wanted to be a part of the movie, because it’s my love of sports, and my love of extreme sports, and my love of surfing, and the fact that we were going to treat them all with the utmost respect. I feel that was really important and something that because of GoPro the world now does treat extreme sports with a bit more respect than what people used to think were a bunch of pimply teenagers riding skateboards. It’s a bit more real than that and I think this movie shows that.
BOSTON: Just to that point, and I don’t know if it’s interesting, but GoPro itself actually presented a huge challenge, because the kids are so used to seeing the GoPro images and these point of view perspectives that are for real. Ericson, of course, and then the whole movie in general wanted to capture that. For us, in the surf, we literally had what’s called a Red Epic which is quite a heavy camera. It’s the smallest we could get. We custom made a camera lens to be in a water housing, and then we had to get two guys inside the tube at Teahupoo, which is a deadly wave on its own. I remember talking to the surfers and them going, “So you want us to hold onto this, and go into the tube, and have two guys inside the tube holding onto this.” And I said, “Yeah, that’s exactly what I want you to do.” I had Bruce Irons, who is one of the best guys at Teahupoo, going, “You are kidding me? Is it okay if I drop it or I let it go?” I said, “Yeah, it’s perfect. Just try and get the shot and we’ll get it back,” and he said, “You’re joking, right?” And I said, “Yeah.” And he’s inside the barrel and he throws this camera away, which I think with all parts included is like $170,000. I remember looking at it as it went up inside the tube, and he’s like upside down inside going over the falls with the camera, and he goes straight down to the bottom of the wave. And then, all the camera crew, like we had all these safety guys, and they were running in to find the camera. We did it four times. We had a lifejacket around the camera and it comes popping up. And everyone, every Tahitian, was running around going, “Get the camera! Get the camera!” because we had bonuses built in if you got the camera.
CORE: And here’s the thing, the moral of that story is, next time you drop your iPhone, keep it in perspective.
Q: The action was amazing, but so was the bro-mance. How did you guys build it? Did you do it around activities such as the ones we saw in the movie?
BRACEY: The first day in Germany, we sat down – Ericson, Edgar and I – and had dinner at the Mandala, the hotel that we were staying at. It was quite obvious from the first minute of conversation how committed we all were to this, to the characters, to the story, to the movie as a whole. So, the commitment was so mutual – not only between Edgar and I but Ericson and the rest of the crew and everyone on the crew, as I said – that the bro-mance was hardly something that we had to work at. Honestly, it was three-way. We didn’t have to play icebreakers. We didn’t get together. We were wholly committed to the idea of the movie and everything involved. In acting, you’re looking into someone’s eyes and seeing if they’re telling the truth for a lot of the day. I was sitting down for that first dinner with Ericson and Edgar, and we all looked in each other’s eyes and we were right up for this. That kind of commitment and trust is what friendships and relationships are built on, either romantic or bro-mantic, if you want to put it that way. For me, we didn’t have to work on it. It was there from the get-go.
RAMIREZ: Yes, absolutely. I also think that, and it’s true, Ericson was a big part of this relationship, because I think that there is a lot of Utah and a lot of Bodhi in Ericson as a person. His personal connection to nature and the earth, it’s real. It’s part of his history as a man, as an anthropologist who turned to doing movies, but that’s his background. So, he really knows nature. He has a very, very close interaction with it. This was something that was a collaboration between the three of us to get these characters, and to build this relationship, and to ride this new wave together. I just wanted to say that because he really is the captain of the ship, and I also wanted to continue what Andrew said. He always kept his cool. You have no idea how difficult this movie was to shoot. I can only imagine. I mean, it’s like a level of patience, the exercise of contemplation that Ericson had throughout this. I’m talking about being four or five days on top of Angel Falls. It was one of the most difficult operations in the entire film, because it was so far away, and also it was very complicated. It was one of the most remote locations in the film.
KOSOVE: To put it into perspective, I think we brought in two tons of rigging equipment for what we shot in Venezuela in as remote a place as there is in the world. There is one thing about the relationship between Utah and Bodhi in this film and the first one. A fundamental difference with this version of “Point Break” is that the character of Utah comes into the story in a completely different way. In the original film, which we’re all fans of and obviously are all familiar with, we meet Johnny Utah on the beach. He was a quarterback at Ohio State we hear someone say. We don’t really know anything about him. For me, and someone who liked the first film, I was always wondering who is this person really? I think one of the things that was interesting to me about the idea of Kurt’s script that Chris brought to me and Broderick is we start with an idea of learning who Johnny Utah is before he enters the FBI. That opening sequence, which is a visual sequence, is obviously a spectacular sequence, but also from a character standpoint really informs the emotions of Johnny Utah, why he goes into the FBI, what his emotional struggle is between the desire to be free and have chaos, and at the same time, wanting some stability in his life. So, because the character comes into the story differently, I think by its very nature, the relationship between Bodhi and Utah has a different tonality to some degree than in the original film. But it’s no less intense or meaningful to each of them why they’re part of this journey. For me, one of the moments in the movie that lands so strongly is the reimagining of the scene where Utah fires the gun in the air, when he says, “Why did you let me in?” and Bodhi says, “Because I thought I could save you.” That’s really the point of this version of “Point Break.” Bodhi believed he could take a lost soul and find him again. Utah is struggling between a real desire for that and a commitment that he’s made to society or an organization or government. We’ve reimagined that relationship in a different way and it has a different tonality, but I think it’s absolutely essential to the story we’re telling.
Q: This film has meant so much to so many men in terms of things like friendship and masculinity. Did the authenticity you went after, such as shooting on the edge of a mountain, and the fact that you didn’t use green screen, help you reimagine these characters?
CORE: I’ll tell you when I first read the idea that people wanted to remake “Point Break,” I thought that was not a good idea. I still think it’s not a good idea, because we didn’t do that. The idea was not to remake the first film. The first film is there, available for anyone to see at any time, and frankly, it’s what influenced most of these extreme athletes. We’re all affected by that film, and what we’re all looking at is taking the themes of that film and bringing them to bear on today’s world in a more international way that the world interacts, and with the themes of today, and with the extreme sports of today. So, we definitely consider it a reimagining, and that’s important, because I don’t think it’s a remake. It’s not the same script. We’re not doing exactly the same story. The characters come from similar themes, certainly as it builds, but the themes of the world in which they interact is very different, so it took the film in a very different place, and the way that we did it very authentically, almost like a Planet Earth film going around the world and doing this, is a very different experience. So, I think anyone who loved the first film, as do we all on this stage, will very much love this version of the film, and it is a reimagining indeed.
BRACEY: You talked in terms of what it means to men and the authenticity and being on this mountain. Absolutely. That really takes a little bit of pressure off. As you said, we all love the original movie, and we love it because of what it is and what it inspired us to do. For me, as a young fellow growing up in Australia, I wanted to surf, play rugby, and the whole idea of taking on the world and grabbing it by both hands was something that’s in the original that comes straight through into this version, this reimagining. But, in that sense, being in these places and hanging off Angel Falls and tumbling, Phil and I were in the water tumbling through 10-foot waves, getting absolutely lit up for about six hours one day in Tahiti and it was an awesome day. I mean, that’s fun for me, but it also took the pressure off us a bit, because if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it properly. That’s what we wanted to do. And to do that, it meant that the authenticity gave us that ability to fully commit and to do everything we could rather than fully commit to pretending about something on a green screen. Being in these places did nothing but make it “Point Break” even more. It made it even more of a “Point Break” than it could have ever been.
“Point Break” opens Christmas Day, December 25th.