“You can’t tell the story of an event like this (the tsunami in Thailand) with words. I knew that the emotional side had to be more important than the intellectual aspects, because the victims had no time to think,” the Spanish director, Juan Antonio Bayona, explained at the press conference he gave yesterday after the screening of his film The Impossible out of competition at the Festival. He was accompanied by Ewan McGregor, who was to receive a Donostia Award later in the evening, scriptwriter Sergio Sánchez, producers Paolo Vasile and Belén Atienza and survivor Mará Belón, whose story the film is based on.
Belón made it quite clear that truth was stranger than fiction and stressed that everything in the film was true, while Bayona pointed out that, despite being based on a real Spanish family, he had aimed to talk about universal figures, which was why he had looked for international stars who kept their original accents.
Ewan McGregor confessed there were three things that had encouraged him to accept the project. One was the script which he described as “beautifully written and brutally honest;” another was the fact that he had been really impressed by Bayona’s The Orphanage so was very excited to work with him; and finally the film gave him the chance to play a father, a facet of his real life he had never explored in his work before.
He also spoke about his feelings regarding his Donostia Award. He said that it was a great honour as he still recalled the unrivalled excitement and energy he had found here on a previous visit before and after the screening of Moulin Rouge. “I’m delighted to be here and even more delighted to be receiving an award,” he explained.