How did you approach incorporating Thailand and Thais into the movie?
All the time the idea was to tell the story from the point of view of the family, to create a sense of
empathy. I really like the fact that we chose this Western family, because in the end you’re not just
trying to tell the story of the tsunami, but to tell how the world of all these people ended in some way;how their innocence and their whole sense of security changed after that. For these people, comingfrom a very materialistic world and to live through that, the experience transformed them in a way thatthey will never be the same again.In terms of the Thai people, no matter if it was Thai orother nationalities, my goal was to treat all the peopleat the same level. So, I never tried to becondescending or to even try to tell the world howmuch the Thai people suffered. Of course theysuffered, as much or more than other people. But intalking to lots of survivors and people who lost familythere, I also realized the enormous gratitude everyone,Thai and tourist survivors alike, had towards thecommunity and how it responded. So I decided toportray them as more than victims, from the point of view of the gratitude.
Tell me more about the two most prominent Thai characters, the man who rescued Maria and the nurse in the hospital.
I was always following the story of Maria, and it was interesting to find that when she encounters thisman, he is doing exactly the same thing that Maria is doing, looking for his family. And then he foundMaria. He stopped his search and took Maria to the hospital before going back to continue looking for
his family. So it’s about
their sacrifice amidst their own disaster, and Thais often lost not just theirfamily but also houses and lands andfriends.And then I wanted to acknowledge thepeople in the hospital, not just the nursesbut also the doctors and all the staff whotook care of Maria and others. Today, thosefirst responders express an enormousgratitude for the film being made, since itwas a way to show the world how theybehaved during those first terrible days.