As Harry Connick jr talks about the film, Winter and her trainer Abby show us how the dolphin swims with her prosthetic tail
HFPA members were the guests of Sony Pictures Television on the set of the new Charlie’s Angels television show in Miami, where they were greeted by the director and executive producer, Marcos Siega, who walked them through the set and described the show.
“The mysterious Charlie sets up a mission and then sends the Angels to resolve it,” he says. There is a parallel between the new show and the 1970’s hit TV series but, set in Miami, he says: “The new Charlie’s Angels show is original with a modern twist.”
The HFPA also met with the glamorous Angels: blonde Abby (Rachael Taylor), a Park Avenue princess who became a world class thief; dark Kate (Annie Ilonzeh), a Miami cop who fell from grace losing both her career and her fiancé’; and brunette Eve (Minka Kelly), a street racer with a mysterious past.
The actresses trained with a S.W.A.T team 12 hours a day in martial arts, scuba diving, gun handling and close combat fighting before they began filming.
“Although we have stand-in stuntwomen, we try to do all stunts except risky ones, like being hit by a bus or falling off a ten-story building,” laughs Annie Ilonzeh, who is proud to play the first black Angel in the history of the show.
The new Angels say that they are not trying to fill the shoes of the original stars.
“We are trying to do something fresh and original,” stresses Australian-born Rachael Taylor.
Visiting the set of the upcoming movie Dolphin Tale in the marine hospital in Clearwater, Florida, HFPA members were introduced to the star and the protagonist of the movie, Winter, the Dolphin whose tail had to be amputated and be replaced with a prosthetic one after sustaining an incurable injury in 2007.
Dolphins swim by fluttering their tails vertically, up and down, but after losing her tail, Winter started to swim by wiggling her body horizontally in order to propel herself forward, which resulted in damaging her spine. To save her from death, her trainers decided to explore the idea of a prosthetic tail, which had not been done or even contemplated before.
“There were many challenges in designing a new tail for Winter,” explains the hospital’s director, David Yates. “The biggest challenge was keeping the tail on without hurting her.”
The tail was designed by Dr. McCarthy (played by Oscar-winner Morgan Freeman), who used his experience in building human prosthetic limbs to create a socket made of soft gel that fits firmly over the base of the amputated tail and then strap the artificial tail around it.
“The other challenge was to make her swim with a tail after she had been swimming sideways in over a year and half,” Yates adds.
Initially, Winter had rejected the new tail, but in a few months she was humming. “She loved it,” Yates beams.