Skip to main content

The Globe and Mail

Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts and a moment of gravitas on the red carpet

Actor Ewan McGregor at the gala presentation for The Impossible at the Toronto International Film Festival, September 9, 2012.


"I was struck by how brutally true and honest the writing was," Ewan McGregor said. "Then I found it was a true story and that some of those lines of dialogue were what the family remembered saying."

The film in question, The Impossible, tells the incredible survival story of a tourist family during the South Asian tsunami of 2004.

McGregor and his co-stars were at TIFF on Sunday night not only to celebrate the film's debut – but also to honour all of the victims who suffered from the disaster. (The family was also at the premiere, though not doing press.)

Story continues below advertisement

"There is a lot suffering in the story, so we had a great deal of responsibility," said director J.A. Bayona, who also directed The Orphanage. "I mean, the emotions that we were dealing with were real emotions."

Some have criticized the film for focusing on one family's survival instead of the hundreds of thousands of people who were killed.

To that, Bayona said: "We were very aware from the beginning that while we were going to tell this story of one family, we were also going to tell the story of all the people around them. There is a lot suffering in survival."

The gravity wasn't lost on the stars, either.

"It's a delicate subject but an important one," Naomi Watts said. "These people continue to be impacted by this day."

Watts plays the mother of the family. She (SPOILER ALERT!) gets stranded with her eldest son, played by Tom Holland, separated from her husband and other two children.

Holland, 16, also understood the sensitivity of his first major movie.

Story continues below advertisement

"I met a lot of survivors," he said. "It was amazing to speak to them."

Despite the seriousness of the topic, Holland's red carpet experience wasn't all doom and gloom. He did get some voracious cheers from the crowd outside the Princess of Wales theatre.

"It was madness," he said with a grin. "I've never had anything like this happen to me before."

Report an error Licensing Options
About the Author

Madeleine White is the Assistant National Editor for The Globe and Mail. She has been with the Globe since 2011 and previously worked in the Globe's Video and Features departments, covering topics ranging from fitness and health to real estate to indigenous education. More


The Globe invites you to share your views. Please stay on topic and be respectful to everyone. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.

Please note that our commenting partner Civil Comments is closing down. As such we will be implementing a new commenting partner in the coming weeks. As of December 20th, 2017 we will be shutting down commenting on all article pages across our site while we do the maintenance and updates. We understand that commenting is important to our audience and hope to have a technical solution in place January 2018.

Discussion loading… ✨