Colin Thiele's 1964 children's story about a boy and his pelican has been beloved by Australians for decades and Jai jumped at the chance to star in the latest adaptation.
"My mother was a teacher at our public school and she taught this book educationally to dozens and dozens of students over the years," he tells WENN. "My sister and I both went there. It was a tiny school of about 100 students but she never taught my class. It's actually still on the syllabus in a lot of schools in Australia."
"It's kind of ingrained in us and the relationship to that animal because at a young age we were introduced to this story. It was cool to be invited back to retell it because of that connection. I knew Australians across a few generations who were looking forward to seeing it on screen again."
"I made it for my mum and for everyone in a way to do it service because it's so iconic and beloved. I knew from reading the script that we had a really lovely piece on our hands. I'm excited for my friends and my family to see it because I know it holds a special place in a lot of people's hearts."
But the "Suicide Squad" star's pelican co-stars could be a little difficult to work with at times.
"There were about four pelicans that were used as the stars and sometimes one would be switched out for the other," he adds. "One bird might've been better at doing flying stuff or another might've been a bit cranky that day, so they used one that was more co-operative. There were a couple of Percivals (pelican name in 'Storm Boy') in the mix."
"It was pretty incredible because I hadn't worked with animals for a movie in that capacity. It was full-on and intimidating at times to be that intimate with such a beautiful creature. We had a pocket full of fish on hand if they got a little distracted and were looking for a snack now and then."
"I was blown away by a flock of wild pelicans just sitting on the water or flying about our boat. They are my mum's favourite bird."