Blue Crush 2An Interview with Elizabeth Mathis
By Wilson Morales
June 8, 2011
Out on home video this week is ‘Blue Crush 2,’ which is directed by Mike Elliott, and stars Sasha Jackson, Elizabeth Mathis, Rosy Hodge and Sharni Vinson.
Dana (played by Jackson) plays a killer surfer from California who travels to the breathtaking coasts of South Africa, determined to fulfill her mother’s dream of surfing the legendary Jeffrey’s Bay. With nothing but her mom’s journal as a guide and a fun-loving group of surf fanatics watching her back, Dana faces epic waves, tough locals and her own fears in this unforgettable surf odyssey.
For Mathis, a fashion model who was featured in last year’s ‘Unstoppable’ with Denzel Washington, and ‘Tron: Legacy’ with Yaya DaCosta, the film represents a bigger role for her as she plays Pushy, another surfer who befriends Dana.
In speaking with Blackfilm.com, Mathis talks about her role in the film, filming in South Africa, and her acting status after filming two blockbusters.
Had you seen the original film?
Elizabeth Mathis: Yeah, I have. I’ve seen the first ‘Blue Crush’. I loved it.
This film is totally different. How would you describe your character?
Elizabeth Mathis: My character, Pushy, I love to say that’s she’s just a girl that anybody would want to be friends with. She’s a hard worker. She’s extremely loyal to the ones that she loves. She’s just all around a really great friend in this movie to Dana and I think she’s just a fighter which is really cool.
Prior to shooting how were your surfing skills?
Elizabeth Mathis: Prior to shooting I had no surfing skills. So, they were nonexistent. We were able to go through an entire boot camp process for about three weeks prior to shooting which included surf training and breathing lessons, yoga, dance, everything up the wazoo. We really had to prepare ourselves for that part of the movie.
What was the appeal of doing this role?
Elizabeth Mathis: I loved the movie from the jump, just reading the script because it’s very different from the first film. The storyline was an extremely different storyline from the first film. And Pushy’s character was a local South African girl who was a diehard surfer, something that she just loved to do which is very rare in South Africa. It’s very rare, especially among black South Africans, women, too, to make it even more rare. So, even when I was living in South Africa and speaking with a lot of the young South African girls there, none of them really surfed or tapped into the beauty of the water and water sports and things like that. So, playing this character was a stretch and I loved that. That’s what I loved about it.
What was it like working with the real surfers?
Elizabeth Mathis: It was so great because it just kept us more authentic, I guess, in a way. It was nice to be able to truly immerse within a surf community because we were surrounded by these pro surfers and people who love surfing. I mean, our entire crew even. Any time they had any break or anything they’d just grab a board and run into the water. Everyone in the film just seemed to really love the sport which was great.
What’s it like filming in South Africa?
Elizabeth Mathis: It’s amazing, are you kidding me? I think one of the places that everyone, when you kind of talk to somebody and ask them, ‘Where do you want to go in your lifetime,’ one of them is always South Africa or Africa, in general. To be able to be there and shoot for three months and kind of make it home, it was an amazing experience and something that comes around once in a lifetime.
How long did you have to practice the language?
Elizabeth Mathis: The dialect was a whole different story for me. It was something that I worked really hard at, and like I said before, we had this kind of intense training throughout the day. I would do about two hours after that with a dialect coach, getting coach. I had an amazing dialect coach named Claire, and we just worked really hard together to make this come across as naturally as possible and to really bring Pushy out.
You were in ‘Unstoppable’ and ‘Tron: Legacy’ last year as well. What’s been your experience in the last year and a half with all these movies?
Elizabeth Mathis: It’s been great. I mean, coming off of ‘Unstoppable’ and ‘Tron: Legacy’ and then going into a character where I could truly develop and make it my own, this was my first lead. I was really able to put my stamp on it and it felt really good. It felt like I could really make Pushy into something real for myself. So, I hope accomplished that. I feel like I did and it was just a really great experience.
With the exposure of those two bigger films are doors opening up for you?
Elizabeth Mathis: Yeah. I mean, a lot more people…hey, whenever people can begin to see your body of work prior to meeting you I think doors will always open up just because people want to see what you can do and that’s a natural thing in the industry or business. It’s no different in acting. You just hope that opportunities continue to come and it’s just been a really great ride so far.
You started out as a model. Did you think you’d come in to the acting world?
Elizabeth Mathis: Oh, yeah, it’s something that I always wanted to do. Well, it’s something that began to interest me in college. Yeah. I became very passionate about it and studied really hard at it before I made the leap into it. Modeling was a really great way to make that transition. Modeling allowed me to become very comfortable in my skin and very aware of myself and kind of let go of myself, I guess, in a way is a better way to put it. So, that transition was not so difficult for me.
When you’re not modeling or acting what do you do to keep yourself grounded?
Elizabeth Mathis: This is crazy. I watch movies. It’s so funny because I watch movies. I just really enjoy movies. I enjoy watching them. I enjoy making them. I enjoy going to the movie theater and having the experience with the popcorn and the soda. I really do. I’ve just always loved movies. So, when I’m not making movies I enjoy watching them and enjoy feeling that energy from them.
Do you have anything else coming up?
Elizabeth Mathis: Right now I just finished an indie project, but other than that I’m auditioning and reading scripts and just figuring out what the next project for me is the best one to go about and taking it from there and enjoy these opportunities and this process.
What’s a good reason to pick it up ‘Blue Crush 2’?
Elizabeth Mathis: Oh, wow. Well, I think one reason is that it’s a lot of surfers and it’s a lot of beautiful girls and beautiful guys in this film, but most importantly it’s a story about friendship and love. To be honest with you, South Africa plays a really big character in this movie and it’s like our love story to South Africa. It’s just really good. I think that people of all ages, genres, will really enjoy this film.