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ONDINE

Locations And Stunts
Summers in Ireland can be unforgiving. Summers off the South West Coast of Ireland can be especially unforgiving. During the inclement summer of 2008, the teams working behind the scenes on ONDINE faced a number of challenges both on land and sea.

The three main players were stunt-coordinator, Mark Mottram, marine coordinator Alistair Rumball and special effects director, Kevin Byrne. Working for director Jordan, all three had to chart a course through a summer that featured torrential rain, a dramatic fishing haul, a spectacular car crash, the logistics of safely moving cast and crew on and off remote islands and demands of making it all look effortless and great on screen. "We had constantly changing tides and bad weather with wind and rain most of the time,” says Mottram. "But what was achieved here in a few months was amazing. And we lost only one full day of shooting to the weather conditions.”

Shooting in the Irish sea was particularly demanding on Bachleda. The water was freezing cold and most of the time she was wearing just a knitted dress. "Alicja had real live fish around her which is quite nasty,” says Mottram. "She also spends a lot of time in the water and it is cold. Alicja's stunt double was Belinda, a really marvelous swimmer and expert diver. She was the girl in the net under the water. We fed her air underwater but we put Alicja in the net as well with the fish.”

Bachleda shivers at the memory. "I'm sure that it will look beautiful on screen but that was probably the most difficult scene that I've ever had to do.” But it did work. Beautifully. "I have done stunts underwater before but being able to do that scene and get that shot with a stunt double and not a prosthetic double was special,” says Mottram.

Two of the big action sequences were at the regatta, where Annie's wheelchair topples into the water, and a dramatic car crash in the town. "That regatta pier scene was difficult,” says Mottram. "We got a stunt double for Alison which was difficult because she's just a child and only four foot three inches tall. Also Neil didn't want the wheelchair to go in the water. So we installed a couple of low level barriers, put the chair on a wire safety and then only the person goes into the water. Afterwards we had to get Alicja into the water to save Alison. That was a cold day and a long day.”

The other major stunt sequence was the car crash. For this the centre of Castletownbere was shut down for a night shoot that continued until dawn. Real police mingled with fake officers as stunt drivers raced up and down the main street. The scene, a critical moment in the film, was shot again and again. "Maura, Annie's mother, crashes into Vladic who steams out of nowhere,” says Mottram. "Maura's car is pushed into a shop front window, sending the passengers crashing through it. It is a pretty spectacular stunt and it worked very well.”

The actors were game, not only Bachleda but Farrell as well, to delve deep into their characters. As Syracuse, Farrell had to do things that were not part of a fisherman's usual work detail. "There is a big fight between Syracuse and Vladic,” says Mottram. "We shot that a number of times and Colin gets knocked to the floor ten or fifteen times. Sure he has pads on his knees but it was tough and there were no complaints from Colin. He's quite game and doesn't mind getting involved.” The actor enjoyed the physical aspect of the shoot. "It's always a bit of crack to do the physical stuff because at the end of the day you're not going to get hurt as it's always controlled,” he says. "So it's good to have a muck around.”

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