Naomi Watts as Pam Bales in Infinite Storm

Naomi Watts & the Real-Life Inspiration for Her ‘Infinite Storm’ Character, Pam Bales, Discuss the Movie

Infinite Storm tells the real-life story of Pam Bales and her heroic effort to save a hiker from freezing to death in the midst of a storm. With Naomi Watts in the lead role, the movie is a story of bravery and resilience for Pam and her “John” that she discovers on her hike. A story about facing the elements and pushing on, Infinite Storm tells us all about the hope that we can give each other.

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In preparation for the film’s release, I spoke with actress Naomi Watts, director Małgorzata Szumowska, and Pam Bales herself to discuss the film, and what’s fascinating to me is the inspiration that Watts got from Pam Bales herself in their talks together.

“Every time I play a real-life person, especially, if they’re still around is different case by case, and you don’t know how accessible that person’s going to be,” Watts said of getting to know and work with Bales. “But in this case, Pam was super available. I mean, it was COVID so we didn’t get to do in-person meetings. We got to speak on the phone multiple times. She sent me videos of her, you know, doing things like packing her backpack, which was very methodical. I would never have known how to do so that was all helping to, you know, understand the crucial method behind everything, but also learn mannerisms and behavior and things like that at the same time was very valuable. Pam was incredibly open and incredibly willing to share her story and the finer details. And just getting to know that just drew me in and made this dynamic story of the rescue a lot more interesting by understanding who she was.”

For Bales, her kids even noticed the amount of detail that Watts put into bringing her to life. “Naomi brought everything to the role,” Bales said. “She definitely paid attention to the little nuances and pressures and just ways of me, because when my kids saw the trailer, they said, that’s you mom! So yeah, she was watching it and seeing me doing that, but her face I’m going, yeah, she’s got it.”

You can see my full interview with Naomi Watts, Pam Bales, and director Małgorzata Szumowska here:

Infinite Storm is in theaters now!

(image: Bleeker Street)


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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.