Director and Stars Reveal How They Made 'The Impossible' Possible -- Without CGI (Video)

Following a recent New York City screening of Summit Entertainment's epic drama The Impossible, The Hollywood Reporter sat down with the film's director Juan Antonio Bayona and stars Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts and Tom Holland for a wide-ranging Q&A. (You can watch video of the full conversation at the top of this post.)

Over the course of roughly a half-hour, we discussed, among other things:

  • The real 2004 tsunami that struck the Thailand coastline and tore apart thousands of families, including the one that inspired this film;
  • The fact that this film is of a much more ambitious scale than anything else Bayona (The Orphanage) or most others had ever tried before;
  • McGregor and Watts' experience working with child actors (the youngsters who portray their three sons were all under the age of 15 at the time of shooting) and water (Watts, who nearly drowned at age 14, wasn't all that enthusiastic about this aspect of the production);
  • Holland's initial intimidation at working with such accomplished actors (although he himself was already a pro, having already played the title character in Billy Elliot on London's West End for two years);
  • How the director and actors worked together to make the family's bond seem real and believable (special exercises during rehearsal weeks, etc.);
  • How the tsunami conditions were believably replicated without the use of CGI (the film was shot in the world's second largest water tank, which was carefully rigged with pumps, etc.);
  • What it was like for McGregor and Watts, both parents in real life, to play parents whose children are in jeopardy (McGregor had, in fact, never even portrayed a father on film prior to this one);
  • How the weather conditions in Thailand during the making of this film delayed the productions by months (and the ways in which the cast and crew attempted to reason with "the spirits");
  • The massive standing ovation that the film received following its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (which was loudest when the spotlight was shined upon the family that inspired the film).