Neighbours star Tim Kano knows that his new movie Great White will be compared to Jaws, and he's fine with that as he believes the shark thriller proves to be different.
Great White – out now in the UK on DVD and digital platforms – centres on five passengers on a seaplane who are stranded on a raft in the middle of the ocean. With man-eating sharks lurking just beneath the surface, they face a desperate bid for survival to make it to land.
"Nothing will ever really be able to compete with the original Jaws, which is stunning – the soundtrack, the narrative. It was ahead of its time. The interesting thing about Great White is that it's a survival thriller," Kano tells Digital Spy.
"It is all about how these five protagonists need to survive among each other, but also among the sharks. The way that Martin [Wilson] directed it, he's done an amazing job at creating thrills and suspense – but with all these other different layers to it as well.
"There have been so many parodies, like Sharknado, where they just go for the extreme, really funny angle. I knew when I read this that this was very real. It's very real-life and it's definitely something that could happen, and how people would act in this situation."
Kano landed the role of Joji in Great White shortly after he first left his role in Neighbours in 2019, and was drawn to the movie due to his love of the shark-thriller genre and the fact that his character had "something going on beneath the surface, so to speak".
While Joji might fulfil the movie's role of a villain (since you can't blame sharks for being sharks), he feels that he understands why Joji is coming from and calls him a "very realistic villain".
"His insecurities make him controlling, and lead him to act in certain ways that are selfish, and towards his wife, Michelle which are more subtle and again, sorry, below the surface," he continues.
"In other films, villains [can be] quite one-dimensional, but in Great White, each character has their own defining qualities, but also would do things that could be perceived as wrong in their own right as well. He is definitely the villain of the last five survivors, I think, but in a more interesting, layered way.
"He's a business analyst, and he's saying, 'We should go to shore. We shouldn't be here. What's the probability?' So all of his intentions and statements, although they rub the characters up the wrong way, they're actually rational and reasonable opinions. But because of his villainous character, they're misconstrued and perceived in a wrong way."
While Kano has been involved in some action sequences for Neighbours, Great White marked a step up in terms of set pieces and saw him film on location in various locations along the Gold Coast, as well as in pools at prawn farms.
And when it came to the movie's sharks, he might not have come face-to-face with a real one, but Kano didn't have to imagine being attacked either.
"There were robotic sharks, and they had this fin on the end of this stick, and a man with a fin on his back, an oxygen tank and a propeller that [moved] him through the ocean. So there were all these different things that we were able to work with as actors," he recalls.
"Certainly when the plane gets pulled under by the shark, that was my favourite scene in the film. There was so much action involved. It was so fast. We had to think so quickly. It was actually really fun, especially because we had seen the robotic sharks at the start of filming. The robotic sharks were huge. They were life-sized.
"Having those props on set, in and around, really helps you visualise it. A lot was added in postproduction [too], so we were [also] working with our own fear. They would give us a spot, or we'd see a fin. It was really interesting to work with that aspect, having this unknown beast, and that we had to create the hysteria within ourselves."
Kano wasn't the only Neighbours star on set too as Great White also features Aaron Jakubenko, who played Robbo Slade in 2013. It might have been before Kano's time on the long-running soap, but it added an extra enjoyment to the filming.
"It was so cool knowing that he had been on Neighbours. He'd worked with a few of the cast that I'd worked with, and a few of the directors as well. So it was really nice to talk to him about that. He had a great time on that," he says.
"It was also so interesting because Katrina's [Bowden] on The Bold and the Beautiful, so she's kind of been doing soaps... It was a really nice ensemble to work with, and to use each other's tools and experiences to help each other with the scenes that we had to do."
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