Ramirez spoke to For The Win about his new movie and the conversation took a decidedly existential and philosophical turn along the way. The longer we talk, the more Ramirez starts to sound like the character he plays, Zen-master Bodhi. In discussing the film, Ramirez starts bringing up topics like self-determination and the spiritual renewal of the human spirit. He’s not afraid to go deep.
It sounds hokey, but Ramirez speaks with a conviction, passion and sincerity that’s hard to ignore. Listen to him and you might walk away just a little bit inspired.
1. Sometimes you have to embrace fear
To do justice to the re-imagining of the Point Break story, Ramirez knew that they had to put aside the safety of Hollywood studios and go out into the open. The film shot in 11 different countries and the actors often hiked to remote locations humping their own gear.
“Someone asked me if I’d ever done a film this big before, and I said, ‘This big? Yes. But this crazy? Never.’”
While the film uses accomplished extreme sports athletes for many of the action sequences, Ramirez and co-star Luke Bracey (the new Johnny Utah) had to place themselves in precarious situations for some scenes, like the climatic “chase” scene up Angel Falls in Venezuela.
“We did a lot of rock climbing. The rock climbing is the safest, but still terrifying. Angel Falls goes up to three thousand meters, it’s very scary, of course, when you are just hanging from a rope and wire. That was the most extreme thing I did.”
2.Go witness the majesty of nature
Unlike it’s original predecessor, this Point Break left the bubble of Southern California, shooting in such diverse locations as Walenstadt, Switzerland and Teahupo’o, Tahiti. It gave Ramriez a unique opportunity to see some of the most remote places on Earth, and that experience changed something inside of him for good.
“There’s something that really changes in you when you have the privilege of witnessing the majesty of nature. It humbles you. You can never see the world and relate to it in the same way.”
“We went to the most beautiful places in the world that exist right now. In 30 or 40 years those places are going to go away. We were shooting in such extreme locations. Some of the glaciers where we shot, will be melted. They are building a lot of gold mines near Angel Falls…so who knows what’s going to be there decades from now?”
Ramirez says his new found connection with the natural world has made him think more openly about things he’s ignored in the past.
“For the last 100 years, most of the world’s population has moved to urban centers. We have isolated ourselves. We are very, very detached from nature, and you don’t protect things that you don’t have a direct relationship with. This changed that for me. It invited me to reconcile with nature again. To go out and to see it. When you have the privilege of his experience, it changes something in you.”
3.Take responsibility for what you do
Aside from the adrenaline-fueled action sequences and breathtaking locations, Ramirez is most anxious to talk about the film’s philosophical undertones. The fact that it’s stuff you don’t usually hear outside a yoga studio doesn’t faze him.
“This is really a movie about self-determination. It’s about making choices, committing to those choices and taking responsibility for what you do, for your life.”
Like I said, Ramirez isn’t afraid to get deep. Ramirez isn’t advocating for people to start robbing banks or become big wave surfers, but wants to poke people out of their comfort zones.
“I do believe in living my life fully, but with responsibility and accountability. I would never do the things Bodhi does in the film, his actions in the film are highly debatable, but I know I’m only here for a limited amount of time. All of us are.
“It’s about not being restricted by norms and conventions that society puts on people. You have to seek your own truth.”
4. Don’t make it all about you
As with the original, the most compelling relationship in the film is between Bodhi and Bracey’s Johnny Utah, an emotionally stunted former extreme sports star who turns to the FBI after a stunt goes wrong.
“In the film, Bodhi only judges Utah for letting someone else’s actions define his life,” Ramirez says. “He [Utah] suffered a loss and instead of letting that go, he makes it about himself.”
“He turns into his own grief and after a while, it can be selfish. Don’t make it all about you. What happens to other people, what they do, you can’t use that as an excuse to not live your life.”
5. Make every choice in full consciousness
Ramirez is making pretty high demands of audiences who probably came to the theater to see some big wave surfing and gnarly snowboard runs.
But Ramirez and the rest of the cast spent six months shooting on mountain tops, glaciers and rivers. Many extreme athletes risked their lives (repeatedly) for stunts that could have been done on a green screen.
It’s all in the service of authenticity and connection.
“Whatever you do in life, connect to it fully. Do it and do it with your full passion. That can be scary, to make a change if you aren’t living your passion, but it’s necessary. You have to take responsibility, make every choice in full consciousness, because when it comes down to it, you don’t want to drift your way through life.”
6. Commit to what you love
When viewers walk away from the movie, Ramirez hopes they enjoyed the intense action sequences, but also leave with a newfound inspiration to be authentic in their own lives.
“This story invites you to commit to what you love and what excites you. You don’t have to ride the biggest wave or jump off the highest mountain to live your life fully. Maybe you are a baker, or you write newspaper articles for a living, whatever you do in life, do it with passion, commit to it, love it, be intense about it and live it fully.”
Point Break opens on Christmas Day.
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