The Hub features a world broadcast premiere tonight of the latest adventure of a beloved whale, Free Willy: Escape From Pirate’s Cove. Bindi Irwin plays Kirra, a girl sent to spend the summer with her grandfather (Beau Bridges), who operates a rundown seaside amusement park in South Africa. When a baby orca gets stranded there, Kirra comes out of her shell to help save the animal.
It’s a story close to Bindi’s heart. The 12-year-old is the daughter of the late Steve Irwin of Crocodile Hunter fame, and she has taken it upon herself to continue her father’s work of educating the world about animals. Bindi answered some questions for us about her Free Willy adventure, and following in her dad’s footsteps:
Had you seen the other Free Willy movies before you did this one? If so, what did you think of them?
I love the other Free Willy movies and that is why I was so honored to be asked to be part of filming Free Willy: Escape from Pirate’s Cove. This Free Willy is number 4 and is just as exciting as ever!
Do you have any interesting stories about working with the whale?
Even though there was a bit of movie magic with the whale, in real life I’m involved with our Australia Zoo Marine Rescue Team that helps whales that may have stranded or gotten tangled in fishing nets.
As an animal lover, do you ever have any worries about people using animals in movies?
I believe we should treat animals the way that we would like to be treated.
Would you like to do another movie at some point? Another Free Willy perhaps?
I would love to do another movie one day. When I worked on Free Willy: Escape from Pirate’s Cove, it was one of the best experiences of my life, and something that I’ll never forget. It was my first movie and I do hope that there will be many more to come, maybe even another Free Willy.
Obviously you do a lot of work educating people about animals. What’s the one misconception people have about animals that you see the most?
I think that people can sometimes be worried, even scared of animals because they don’t know enough about them. I also see a lot of people buying wildlife products such as snake skin handbags and crocodile skin boots. That is what makes me most sad. I think the one message that I would like to reach people about, is never buy any wildlife products. We don’t want to see our beautiful wildlife turned into boots, bags and belts. When the buying stops, the killing can too!
You’re still very young, but do you feel like you’ve already got your life’s path set, in that you’ll follow in your dad’s footsteps in educating people about animals?
I want to carry on where my dad left off and continue his legacy. My Dad was my hero and I will continue to spread his word for the rest of my life.