"The Impossible is a tough movie for many reasons. With a real-life tragedy of this magnitude, if the smallest moment comes off as what we usually label as “entertainment,” the movie can become offensive with any hint of Roland Emmerich-ness. Director J.A. Bayona seems well-aware of this fact, as he was sure the right choices were made from the start.
Bayona didn’t want to make a “disaster” picture, but rather a faithful, emotional experience set through the eyes of a Western family during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Not only is bringing those feelings to screen a major storytelling challenge, but it’s also a technical one.
Here’s what Bayona had to say about being his own audience, why he may be romantic for film, and the many challenges of The Impossible.
We begin with a comment from the director:
It was a tough one to make.
In terms of getting the project off the ground or the technical challenge?
Well, it was definitely a huge challenge. The main challenge of it was telling the story of the tsunami through the point-of-view of this family and being respectful. It’s great showing the film to the audience, making them know the story. We did the film because we thought it was a great story. You’re scared when you show it, but you want the audience to know the story.
Do you think at all about how an audience will respond while making a movie like this?
As a director, you never think about how an audience would respond. You can think about that, but you will never change what you’re going to do. You can not control that, since you never know what an audience will think. I can consider myself my audience, and I’m not that weird. I’m fortunate in the things that I like, most people like. Also, when you’re working on a movie you’re never aware of what you’re doing is going to be on screen and lots of people are going to watch it. If you’re aware of that, you’ll probably be so scared.
Basically it’s better to think only one person will see your movie?
Yeah. You’re watching the movie for the first time when you’re working with the actors in front of the camera. You don’t think about how the audience will react. You discover the film."