Inside 'Nim's Island'


Nim's Island Stuntwomen
That's really Abigail Breslin riding that sea lion.
That's really Abigail Breslin riding that sea lion.
Phil Bray

Jodie Foster had a double for a stunt in which she face-planted on some exercise equipment, but she did her other stunts herself. "[It was] a pretty tame shoot, just freezing," she says.

Breslin also had a stunt double for most of a rock-climbing sequence, but she did a lot of running, swimming and zip-lining on her own. She was fairly confident in the water before the shoot but admits that "once I got there I realized I wasn't that good of a swimmer." But that didn't stop her from bravely filming an underwater ride on sea lion Selkie, who wore camouflaged handles for Breslin to hold onto.

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The directors say that Breslin was the perfect choice for Nim. "There aren't too many 11-year-olds … who could carry a whole movie on their shoulders," says Levin. "She has the talent and experience to really be the star of a movie."

Native Manhattanite Breslin "was a little afraid of heights, a little scared of stuff when we started rehearsals," says Flackett. "But by the end she had changed. It really brought her confidence up."

Foster was drawn to the girl-power aspect of the film and also wanted to make a movie her sons could see -- her eldest, Charles, had read the book. After dark dramas like "The Brave One" and "Flightplan," she relished the comedic change of pace -- for years, she'd been looking without success for a comedy. So when she read the "Nim's Island" script, she began lobbying and "banging down doors." Co-directors Mark Levin and Jennifer Flackett championed her, but the initial distributor did not. "She had not done comedy in a long time so there was a reticence on the studio level, but we knew she would be brilliant in it," Levin says.

"I'll always be a dramatic actor," Foster says. "I'll do comedies every once in awhile. But it has to touch me in a certain way ... [my] natural humor is sort of dry and nasty -- and kind of R-rated."

For more information about "Nim's Island," take a gander at the links on the next page. 

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