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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Soul Surfer, the movie: Actor, Ross Thomas Talks

Soul Surfer, the movie: Actor, Ross Thomas Talks

From left to right: Helen Hunt, Dennis Quaid, Chris Brochu and Ross Thomas star in Soul Surfer.

Photo: Noah Hamilton

Ross Thomas is no stranger to Hawaii, having played the role of Bailey Reese in Beyond the Break—shot entirely in Makaha. This time, he is back in Soul Surfer, an inspirational story about Bethany Hamilton, who was attacked by a shark while surfing off Kauai.

Photo: Josh Madson

CH: You play Noah Hamilton, Bethany’s brother. Tell me more about your character.
RT: The family, as a whole, is such a central part of the story. With Noah being the eldest of the three kids, he’s a natural leader and someone who wants to set an example. He’s a strong proponent for Bethany’s career and has a selfless attitude. He’s always supportive of his sister.

CH: Playing a character based on a real person, how did you prepare for the role?
RT: I had the opportunity to meet Noah and develop a friendship with him, and we had him on set. I also came out to Hawaii a few days [before the shoot] and got a chance to surf with Noah and know how he is as a person. I digested all that and made it my own.

CH: The story of Bethany Hamilton is so inspiring. What did you take away from it?
RT: I’m one of many people who followed her story since it happened. She represents a strong model of someone of faith, extreme courage and bravery. And, looking at that as something you can turn into a good thing and help inspire people.

CH: This film has a great cast overall. How was your time working with them?
RT: I really like the fact that it’s an ensemble piece. There are no small parts and that’s translated on the screen. I worked with Sean McNamara (director) a few years prior [in Beyond the Break]. Helen [Hunt] and Dennis [Quaid], I’ve respected a long time, and have careers I’ve watched all along.

CH: You’ve done quite a bit of work in Hawaii. Our readers would be interested to know how you liked your time here.
RT: Hawaii has such a large part of my heart. I love everything it stands for. The people have always been so warm and welcoming. And, being an average surfer, it is a very rare and unique opportunity to work with legendary surfers and waterman. Brian Keaulana and Buffalo [Keaulana] mentored me quite a bit. When you come to Hawaii and you’re rolling a camera, you’re going to work with them. I made so many friends out there. Please give a warm aloha to my ohana there.

Soul Surfer opens everywhere April 8.

Posted on Thursday, April 7, 2011 in Permalink

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About This Column

This Kamehameha Schools and UH graduate manages the website for HONOLULU. In her free time she researches Hawaiian genealogy, when she’s not out and about or taking care of her 5-year-old son. She blogs about Honolulu bars, Hawaii nightlife and entertainment.

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