True Spirit Interview: Teagan Croft & Jessica Watson Talk True

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ComingSoon Senior Editor Spencer Legacy spoke with True Spirit star Teagan Croft and author Jessica Watson about Netflix’s inspirational movie. The movie is now streaming on Netflix.

“When the tenacious young sailor Jessica Watson (Teagan Croft) sets out to be the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world, many expect her to fail,” reads the film’s synopsis. “With the support of her sailing coach and mentor Ben Bryant (Cliff Curtis) and her parents (Josh Lawson and Academy Award winner Anna Paquin), Jessica is determined to accomplish what was thought to be impossible, navigating some of the world’s most challenging stretches of ocean over the course of 210 days.”

Spencer Legacy: Tegan, what drew you to the story of True Spirit?

Teagan Croft: Oh, I mean it’s such a huge story — particularly in Australian culture. Every little girl knows Jess and — well they do!

Jessica Watson: I don’t know!

Teagan Croft: I mean, obviously — great role, great script — and it was just a fun project. I’m so glad that I was drawn to it.

Jessica, what was it like to revisit that time of your life when it was being recreated in front of you while making the movie?

Jessica Watson: Oh, it’s so strange. You have no idea how weird it was. I think it really hit home when I came to the studios in pre-production and there were walls and walls of rooms covered in inspiration of my life. And I’m like, “This is a bit weird and almost a little bit creepy.”

Teagan Croft: Totally just pictures upon pictures of Jessica just lined the walls.

Jessica Watson: And mood boards.

Teagan Croft: Yeah!

Jessica Watson: Family life mood boards, bedroom mood board … that’s a bit weird, right?

Tegan, you know, how much did you learn about managing and helming a boat during the creation of the movie and what was that like?

Teagan Croft: Well, I’d gone from literally zero sailing experience to having to … when we film on the coast and on the water, obviously I can’t have someone else sailing for me because it’s my face. So I was able to shakily helm the boat, skipper, this little pink lady and … God, I had such a great time. I was really shocked by how fun I found sailing and how engrossing it really can get and just enjoying the wind and the waves, but then also, I really enjoy the precision of sailing. It’s all about getting the optimum … is that the wrong word?

Jessica Watson: Angle?

Teagan Croft: Yeah, yeah exactly.

Jessica Watson: Yeah, because you’ve got this incredible math brain, so you kind of brought that to it, which is cool. I think it shines through that you were enjoying it.

Teagan Croft: I think so. I hope so! I really was having a good time.

Jessica, what did your family and instructor and everyone think of all the actors and actresses chosen to portray them?

Jessica Watson: Yeah, I mean, I think it’s so weird for them, right? It’s incredibly weird. They’re thrilled. I think they’re happy. The character Ben is actually an amalgamation of a number of people, which is amazing. But yeah, that relationship is really one of my favorite things in the movie, as well.

Teagan Croft: Yeah, same.

Teagan, how did the two of you work together to make this film’s version of Jessica so authentic and so true?

Teagan Croft: Aw thank you! Truly spiritual. Thank you! I guess we just chatted and with Sarah … early on we had dinner and we just talked about how we wanted to create a character from the ground up, not just a mimic of Jess. And so, putting some of myself into there, I was really lucky that it was Covid and didn’t see my family so I had a kind of similar emotional experience to Jess, in that time. So I was able to bring a level of authenticity that I wouldn’t have been able to without lockdown and isolation.

Jessica Watson: Yeah. I can’t believe we’re calling Covid lucky! But to give you that experience, I suppose.

Teagan Croft: Silver lining!

Jessica Watson: Yeah.

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