Bindi Irwin Takes on Familiar Role in 'Free Willy'
By PopEater Staff Posted Mar 24th 2010 01:45PM
In 'Free Willy: Escape from Pirate's Cove,' Bindi plays an Australian girl helping a baby Orca whale trapped in captivity on the shore of South Africa.
TV adventurer Steve Irwin, who died in 2006 following a stingray attack, raised Bindi to be at ease in front of the camera. She was often featured on his shows, and eventually became the star of her own series, 'Bindi the Jungle Girl.'
"He's still my hero," Bindi said of her father in a new Reuters interview. "He taught me about documentary filming and to be comfortable around cameras. I used that during the filming of this movie because I wasn't scared to be around cameras."
Her father may be gone, but it seemed he was there in spirit during the filming of 'Free Willy.' "There is so much footage of my dad out there," Bindi said. "While we were in South Africa, every morning we'd watch him on Animal Planet, then go and film the movie."
Bindi's co-star, Beau Bridges, who plays her grandfather in the movie, also helped her feel comfortable in the new role. "I was a bit nervous about learning the lines, but Beau taught me how to make them into a conversation," she said. "He gave me 'Acting: The First Six Lessons' on audiotape and a book I'm reading right now."
It seems that her character in the film was written specifically for the young wildlife enthusiast, who jokes that she was "hatched" rather than born. Bindi plays the daughter of a zoo veterinarian who interacts with exotic animals and is also dealing with the loss of a parent.
Making the movie has left Bindi wanting more, but she'd like her next film to include "a lot more wildlife."
"I feel like I'm nothing without wildlife," she said. "They are the stars. I feel awkward without them."
Bindi is now in the process of petitioning to save the Steve Irwin Wildlife Reserve, which is in danger of being mined. "Every time you lose an animal, it's like losing a brick from the house," she said. "Pretty soon the house just falls down, you know?"
She learned this philosophy from her father. "He taught me to love and respect animals and treat them how you would like to be treated," Bindi explained. "I really want to carry on in his footsteps and pick up where he left off."
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