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5 Questions with Julia Sarah Stone, Craig Arnold and Lindsay Mackay of Wet Bum

The film Wet Bum is lovingly crafted by writer / director Lindsay Mackay, and is clearly very personal “I made it off of a 90’s childhood”. In a series of interviews conducted in the days leading up to last year’s TIFF, we spoke to Mackay, alongside her leads Craig Arnold, whom we met on the patio of a Yorkville hotspot, and was a joy with whom to speak, (also randomly running into his co-star on the film, Leah Pinsent). Then when we spoke to Mackay and leading lady Julia Sarah Stone, announced as a TIFF Rising Star at the festival, it was clear how much passion, dedication, and humility comes from this Search Engine Films production. Park your bum down at the cinema and see Wet Bum.

Scene Creek: What did you think the movie would be like?

Julia Sarah Stone: I read the title and it definitely caught my attention. It made me want to read the script, which is a good thing, and I hope it makes people want to watch the movie. It’s the kind of script that I did not want to put down, because I was so immersed in Sam’s story. Her journey is so important to me, and I feel like what we made is very special.

I was really excited to audition and I was connected to the story. Sam is fourteen, and she’s going through this transitional stage in her life. She’s kind of unsure of where she fits in, and she’s pretty self-conscious about her body. She’s just trying to find her way, and I think that’s something a lot of people go through.

I think that it’s going to be relatable, and it’s important story to tell, because I think a lot of people will be able to take something away from it.

Scene Creek: What is your take on the characters, Craig?

Craig Arnold: Ed, Lukas and Sam are all trying to handle their own insecurities. Sam is fourteen, she’s growing up at a really difficult age, Ed just lost his wife, and doesn’t know how to move on. Lukas, I think, he’s trying to figure out how to get people to like him, and how to treat people, and women, and how to have a real relationship. In my opinion, he does care about people, but just behaves in a poor way. Poor choices, even if he does mean well. At that age, seventeen, he has a lot to prove. I think that a lot of his actions come through that need to prove himself. As a man, or more than he needs to be.

Your most well-known role was as a Luke, too, (on Degrassi)

Yeah, the Lukes keep coming!

The most interesting thing about Degrassi, especially in those episodes with those episodes with sexual assault, you know, based on the Steubenville, Ohio case with two football players that sexually assaulted a teenage girl, these boys made poor choices. A lot of adolescence, you don’t know how to behave, you don’t know how to conduct yourself. As to the difficulty of these parts, you know, I read these scenes, and go, “Oh my God, we’re going to go there, how do I do this?”

Even when we were filming those scenes, you know, we get there, there are cameras, it’s fake, we have a scene, there’s a director, whatever, but still when they call action, you’ve got to do that stuff (laughing). You know, there’s a huge part of me that says “this is so wrong! I can’t believe I’m doing this right now!” I mean, I’m fully into character, but I have it in the back of my head, like “Oh God, let me get through this”, and that’s acting.

Scene Creek: Was this scene tough to film?

JSS: There was definitely a lot of preparation in terms of what was allowed, skin-wise. (Mackay mumbles her assent). The way the scene was written, there was lots of open-ended, what are you comfortable with? (Mackay again her mumbles assent). So that was really good. Everyone was good with what I was comfortable with, were’s sticking to that, so there was absolutely no pressure with anything. It made it a lot more comfortable and enjoyable when filming the scene.

Lindsay Mackay: It was as minimal crew as possible, it was really just you and Craig, and me and Guy (Godfree, the cinematographer), and the car. And you guys were incredible! It was a very difficult scene. At that point you guys had a good relationship and there was lots of communication about what was acceptable, and what wasn’t, and making sure everyone was comfortable, yeah! you guys were really great.

JSS: Craig was really sweet about it. It was easy to because he is such a great actor to work with. He was very respectful and he respected the terms.

Scene Creek: Which other scenes did you find difficult?

JSS: The underwater days were quite psychically demanding, and emotionally as well. Getting in and out of the pool so much, you get cold really fast. It was good for the pool days because everyone was putting in such an effort to make it easy and make it flow (all laughing).

Wet Bum opens at the TIFF Bell Lightbox May 15th and in Vancouver May 29th