Phoebe Tonkin: Shark & Critic 'Bait'
Last week it was announced that The CW was working on a potential Wonder Woman TV series, and there was only one name on critics' tongues: Phoebe Tonkin. This fact not only reinforces what an exciting on-screen presence she proved to be on The Secret Circle, but goes to show you just how much industry support she has.
After all, this is the same girl that led Kevin Williamson (a man who certainly can spot a star in the making) to say, "I love Phoebe. I want her on Vampire Diaries. Or The Following. I have a feeling that girl will star in her own show before we get around to casting her. She's awesome." And if you think I'm paraphrasing, I'm not. That's verbatim.
And while Kevin got his wish (Tonkin joined The Vampire Diaries on August 7) she can also be seen this Friday in Bait 3D, a cheeky new thriller that throws her into a shark-infested, waterlogged shopping center alongside Xavier Samuel and Julian McMahon in a fight for their collective lives. I caught up with Phoebe (before she's too famous to take my calls) to find out what drew her to this script, how she perfected that scream and why Australians love to see her soaking wet!
TheInsider.com: What attracted you to Bait 3D?
Phoebe Tonkin: I love that it was a throwback to the 80s horror films. It's scary but it's also a bit funny in parts because it's so ridiculously crazy and far-fetched but there are real characters in it. In terms of Jamie, I like that it really does take something as drastic as a tsunami and sharks threatening her life, her father's life and her boyfriend's life for her to grow up a bit. She starts off so angry at the world but she starts to see there's something grateful for. I like the arc she goes through in the face of death.
Insider.com: Are you a big scary movie fan?
Phoebe: I am! I am! Especially coming from Australia, anything to do with the ocean I find terrifying. I grew up on the beach and I love being in the ocean, so anything that scares me away from doing that is pretty intense. It's so deep and dark and terrifying.
Insider.com: Should I take that to mean you're a fantastic swimmer?
Phoebe: I actually am. And this isn't bragging because I'm not good at many things, but I grew up swimming and by the beach, so I think I might have a chance to get away [from a shark] .. but probably not. I'm not that fast.
Insider.com: Although this movie doesn't require you to swim as much as it does stand on top of a shelf and be soaking wet. Which had to make for fun days on set.
Phoebe: [laughs] It was pretty interesting. It was five weeks, every day, on that one shelf. And you had to swim from the entrance of the studio to the shelf, and there was someone every 15-20 minutes spraying you down with more water. But the nine of us on the shelf got close quickly suffering through the wet and cold together.
Insider.com: Although keeping you submerged in water seems to be a running trend in your Australian career (she played a mermaid in a TV show called H2O: Just Add Water).
Phoebe: [laughs] I know! I feel like that's specific to me and I don't know why, but it's kind of becoming a running joke in my career. I'm always in the water in some way. But I'm a water baby, so I don't mind -- but it's fully a running theme.
Insider.com: You also showcase a pretty fantastic scream -- what's the secret?
Phoebe: You gotta put your whole body into it [but] I think it's more about the after the scream. You have to drink a lot of lemon and honey – my throat was torn up after those scenes. I watched a lot of scary movies growing up – I love I Know What You Did Last Summer, and of course, Scream, so Jennifer Love Hewitt really set the bar high for a good horror movie scream.
Insider.com: Can't help but notice those are both Kevin Williamson movies -- who also executive produced Secret Circle, and The Vampire Diaries. I'd imagine that helped you make the decision to stick with him on TV.
Phoebe: As a person, I'm so attracted to the supernatural world, the unknown world. I find that so fascinating. I got into acting to tell stories and be a kid again and use the part of your imagination you can’t use as an adult. And I'm such a huge fan of Kevin Williamson, I would do anything for him. To be part of something he created, is so popular, is so well-written and has such a big fanbase, there was no question to joining [Vampire Diaries].
Insider.com: How excited was Claire [Holt, who plays Rebekah and is Phoebe's H20 co-star and best friend) when you told her?
Phoebe: I called Claire when she was on set and I had to do a disclaimer before I told her so she wouldn't squeal [laughs]. But we haven't done any scenes together yet. I think they're worried about us getting too excited and giggly on set. We're hoping to work together soon.
Insider.com: What can you tell me about your character, Haley?
Phoebe: I like that she's a world traveler, a bit of a tomboy, pretty ballsy and provocative, but not in the way Faye was on Secret Circle. I mean, she went out to manipulate and see what should could gain from people. Hayley just doesn't have a filter. She didn't really have parental figures in her life, and I like that kind of a person. I like that she's tough and tries to keep up with the boys. That's what I responded to when Julie [Plec, executive producer] first pitched the character to me.
Insider.com: And how has it been working with Candice Accola and Michael Trevino?
Phoebe: They're so sweet. The majority of my scenes so far have been with them. They're so professional and prepared and talent. I mean, it's been so lovely on set the past couple of weeks with the two of them. The dynamic between the two of them is amazing, so working off that is really great.
Bait 3D hits Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Download Combo Pack on September 18th!