Fox 2000 Pictures and Walden Media present a Gran Via / Deuce Three
production, starring Gerard Butler in CHASING MAVERICKS. The film also stars
Jonny Weston, Elisabeth Shue, and Abigail Spencer. The music supervisor is
Andrea Von Foerster, the score is by Chad Fischer, and the costume designer is
Sophie De Rakoff. Scott E. Anderson is the visual effects supervisor; John
Gilbert, A.C.E. is the editor; and Ida Random is the production designer. Bill
Pope, ASC is the director of photography; and the executive producers are Gerard
Butler, Alan Siegel, Georgia Kacandes, and David Weil. The film is produced by
Curtis Hanson, Mark Johnson, Brandon Hooper and Jim Meenaghan. The screenplay
was written by Kario Salem, from a story by Jim Meenaghan & Brandon Hooper. The
film was directed by Curtis Hanson and Michael Apted.
There is a saying that if you hail from the Northern California town of Santa
Cruz, you are born with a surfboard in one hand and a skateboard in the other.
But that isn't the only adage the seaside community abides by. The residents are
also fiercely true to the motto "Live Like Jay," a saying - and a lifestyle -
dedicated to the memory of a local surfer named Jay Moriarity. Jay was a rising
star in the world of big wave surfing when his life ended much too soon. And
while he gained international notoriety for his fearless wave riding, it was his
personal spirit - driven by kindness, an infectious enthusiasm, and an absolute
fervor for life - that was truly unforgettable.
Jay's neighbor was Frosty Hesson, a surfer who became a friend, mentor,
father figure - and so much more - to Jay. Michael Apted ("The Chronicles of
Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader"), who shared directing duties with
Curtis Hanson ("8 Mile"), explains: "The initial relationship between Frosty and
Jay is mentor and pupil. As the story develops, their bond becomes more
complicated, more emotional, and more in the territory of father and son. By the
end of the story, the child is father to the man. So the movement of the film is
a bit of a role reversal as to who is the mentor."
Gerard Butler and newcomer Jonny Weston bring Frosty and Jay to life on the
big screen. Butler, who following his triumphant success as a peerless warrior
in "300," has become one of today's most versatile and in-demand actors, is,
says Apted, "a movie star and the rock on which we built CHASING MAVERICKS. He
dramatized the internal struggles that Frosty must navigate in the course of the
film. A lot of the cast were young and were able to learn from Gerard's
Jonny Weston was among those benefiting from Butler's experience and talent -
especially given the fact that CHASING MAVERICKS is the young star's major
motion picture debut. Apted elaborates: "Jonny brings a freshness and curiosity
to the role. He could have been intimidated by the challenges, but he had the
ability to listen and learn. Once Jonny saw the way through a problem, he
doggedly stuck with it."
"Jonny is Jay," adds producer Brandon Hooper. "There was just this purity in
his eyes and in his spirit."
Butler notes that one of the film's key themes is: connections. "In many
ways, the film is about connecting with nature, to spirituality, and connecting
with another person. The connection that grows between Frosty and Jay is the
most compelling aspect of the story. But there are several more relationships
that shape both Jay and Frosty, including, notes director Curtis Hanson, "Jay's
relationship with his girlfriend and future wife Kim; Jay's relationship with
his mother; and Frosty's relationship with his wife and his little child."
"There are interesting relationships in this story, which help dramatize the
emotion of the piece," says Apted. "I'm drawn in by that emotion and look for
unusual relationships to help express it. But I also thought that big wave
surfing was a spectacular and unusual world in which to set the story. I felt we
were in original territory."
The connection between Weston and Butler mirrored the one they were
depicting. "From the second Jonny screen tested, everybody fell in love with
him. We really had a kind of Jay-Frosty / mentor-friend relationship; it was
very much life imitating art."
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