Jacinda Barrett for “Poseidon” (On-Set)

Born in Melbourne, Aussie actress Jacinda Barrett first got noticed in the 1995 season of MTV’s “The Real World”. Since then she has appeared in a variety of film projects including “Urban Legends: Final Cut”, “24-Seven” and “Campfire Tales” along with shows like “D.C.” and “Citizen Baines”.

Barrett’s star really began to shine with a key role in 2003’s “The Human Stain” alongside Anthony Hopkins, Nicole Kidman and Wentworth Miller. She followed that up last year playing the wife of Joaquin Phoenix in “Ladder 49” and proved a rival with a secret love for Renee Zellweger in “Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason”.

Covered in fake cuts and bruises, Jacinda took some time out to sit down with me and talk about her role in “Poseidon”:

Question: What character do you play in the film?

Barrett: She’s one of the six main characters that we’re sort of travelling with, at times there are seven of us but some fall away. She’s a single mom on a cruise, taking her kid away for a vacation in the sense that its New Year’s Eve. Before anything happens with the ship I meet Dillon, played by Josh Lucas, and we sort of have a flirtation. I’m a busy working mom who’s madly in love with her child so it’s very hard – I go through some seriously stressful situations as her child’s life is in jeopardy throughout the story.

Question: So you’re the female lead?

Barrett: Josh is the male lead, because he’s got more to do and yes I’m opposite Josh so yeah – I guess she’s the female lead. Emmy Rossum is opposite Mike Vogel and Kurt Russell is her dad. There’s all these cross connections because and Kurt and Josh have this whole ‘who’ll be the leader’ thing.

Question: What’s been the most challenging aspect so far?

Barrett: The physical stuff’s amazing, so many things are so different about this movie than any other project I’ve been on. We shoot with anywhere between three to six cameras, today we’re shooting with five all morning so that immediately complicated things because every shot may line up for one camera but may not work for another so they’re constantly working to make sure each of those cameras is seeing what it needs to see.

Yesterday and this morning we had 100 mile per hour winds which we were in front of. Enormous industrial fans, and we’re wet and they have pieces of black plastic garbage bag debris slapping us. it’s surprising how hard it hurts when it’s going that fast. The water stuff is really tiring, being in the water all day – I’ve never done anything like that, I had no idea that being in the water would just wipe you out – we were all in bed by seven o’clock those nights, exhausted.

Question: Did you have many water scenes?

Barrett: I had a good two weeks where I was in the water where I was trying to rescue my son, he gets separated from us, and the ship is not only upside down but tilting under, and I can’t get to him as the water is rising on him. The physical stuff has been the most challenging but also the most interesting, John Seale and Wolfgang are so incredibly experienced at this kind of stuff its great to watch them to do it.

Question: How is Wolfgang Petersen to work with?

Barrett: He’s so sweet, so gentle and has incredible infinite patience. He doesn’t get ruffled, he’s very centered. We have easy days for a movie, we come in early but we’re always done by 6 or 7 and lunch is at 1 punctually almost every single day. That never happens on a movie, but because its Wolfgang and because he’s so experienced he can literally stick to his days. for a movie on a four and a half month shoot we’re running over only by one or two days.

Question: How did you go about landing this role?

Barrett: I was doing a movie “The Last Kiss” up in Montreal, and I came back for one week. I know Wolfgang didn’t meet with many people, but I went in and had a meeting with him – just one meeting for like 45 minutes and I watched the original movie because there was no script at that point to read, there was no re-writes, and I got offered it. It was so easy, Wolfgang is very particular and goes for what he wants.

Question: Any particular sequences stand out for you?

Barrett: The trippy thing is all the sets are so different, I mean the grand ballroom was an insane extravagazna. That was my first day on set with 300 extras, when the ship tips it gave me chills seeing people upside down, falling, and on fire. That gave me a sense of the magnitude of the movie, wow this is enormous. I really like that set, and the set I shot with Jimmy where he was underwater was intense. They’re just dark, and kind of like hell in there sometimes – things burning, corpses everywhere.

Question: Any scene you really looking forward to seeing with effects?

Barrett: I can’t wait to see the stuff, there’s these images all the time leading up to before the wave hits. You’re constantly seeing us on the boats and cutting back to the ocean as the wave gets wider and wider and wider, and then it gets closer and closer. You see the magnitude of the wave compared with the tiny ship by the end and it just ugh, turns my stomach.

Question: Anyone tried a Shelley Winters recreation?

Barrett: Her underwater stuff was kind of famous, she was so brave and out there. We constantly get asked about her, but I don’t think anyone is her per se.

Question: Do you have any underwater stuff?

Barrett: We did a bit already, which is wild because there’s so many different things to deal with. We had problems underwater because of my hair which would completely would cover my face. So they shot air into my face which caused water to go up my nose. You can’t see anything you’re totally blind underwater, one day we hand to shut down production because Josh got walloped in the head with either a shoe or a torch and so he had to have stitches. We’re all really close underwater and you can’t see, but we’ve a lot more of that stuff next week.

Question: Are you having fun with the other members of the cast?

Barrett: We all get along really good, jimmy who plays my son is such a sweetheart. We’re constantly hurting ourselves and whacking stuff. One of my best injuries was falling off the back of a golf cart which has nothing to do with the movie at all. Cause of Josh, he went over a bump too fast and I wasn’t holding on. Have you seen those little golf carts? They’re like death machines.