31 March 2013
By TIM MARTAIN
THE first thing you notice in a conversation with Bindi Irwin is her relentless enthusiasm for just about everything.
And nothing stirs her passion more than advocating wildlife and environmental conservation.
So when filmmakers decided to film a sequel to 2008 children’s adventure movie Nim’s Island and the original leading lass, Abigail Breslin, was too old to reprise the title role, the effervescent young Aussie wildlife warrior was the logical choice for the part.
"They called me and I jumped at the chance," the 14-year-old said.
"I loved Nim’s Island, not just because it was a beautiful story packed full of adventure but also for its lovely message about family and conservation.
"Nim is the true ultimate wildlife warrior and this movie carries on with her story."
In Return to Nim’s Island, filmed entirely in Queensland, Nim and her father Jack (Matthew Lillard) discover their island is going to be transformed into a resort.
While Jack heads to the city to talk the developers out of it, Nim and her friends scour the island looking for three endangered animals whose presence on the island will prohibit the development from taking place.
Irwin, daughter of the late Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, has been in the public eye most of her life and has extensive TV experience, but she said her first foray into film acting was more intense than she expected.
"Coming to a movie shoot, you forget how many people are all involved in it," she said.
"You rock up and there’s 110 people all working on set and they do 10 to 20 takes per scene to get all the angles and to get the lighting right and so on and sometimes you wish you could turn the camera around.
"I’m used to documentaries where there’s just three people: you, a camera person and a sound person and that’s it, and you have only one take to do everything, you can’t try to re-shoot that scene where a rhino charged at the camera, you know?"
The Irwin family still lives on-site at Australia Zoo on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast and Bindi hopes her appearance in the movie will help raise awareness of the environmental issues she is most passionate about.
And, perhaps not surprisingly, she credits her non-human fellow cast-members as being the most fun and professional to work with.
"The animals all did such a good job, they were the biggest stars," she said.
"I’ve never worked with sea lions before, they’re amazing. They were better trained than I was! They would hit all their cues and get it right, all just for a piece of fish."