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INTO THE BLUE

Sharks, Boats And Sunken Treasures
The storyline of Into the Blue may be fiction, but the craze for underwater treasure hunting is very real (See Sunken Treasure section below). Thus, the Bahamas was a logical choice for filming this story, given that, from the 15th to the 18th century, more than 500 Spanish galleons are believed to have been lost in its dangerous waters — a majority of which have never been found and are said to be laden with billions of dollars in gold and priceless artifacts.

The area off New Providence's southern coast is well known among divers and sportsmen alike as a shark-sighting paradise. Lurking just offshore is a yawning abyss several thousand feet deep that attracts scores of game fish. And where there are fish, there are sharks – mostly docile Caribbean reef sharks, but also a large population of unpredictable tiger sharks. Both reef and tiger sharks were utilized in the script by screenwriter Matt Johnson (Torque) as an important part of Into the Blue's storyline.

"We came here in part because of these sharks,” says producer David A. Zelon. "But I don't think that everyone will believe that these actors actually got in the water close to the sharks. They are going to think these are computer generated. There are many scenes where these sharks come right up and bump our stars. We always had safety people right next to them at all times, but these sharks were always close by and circling them.”

Before the start of principal photography the actors did some full wet rehearsal dives to introduce them and the stunt people to the challenges of working underwater. Beyond fundamental diving-safety protocol and underwater communication techniques, they trained to dive safely with real sharks and learned how to free dive (snorkeling to depth on a single breath of air). The cast eventually swam 40 feet down among sharks while searching for treasure, communicating with hand signals, and using body language to express themselves.

Each actor has his own story about his or her relationship with these deep-sea predators, which they feared at first. But they soon came to respect the sharks and co-exist with them for the duration of the shoot.

"I was petrified of sharks,” recalls Scott. "Always have been, since childhood. On the first day I went into the water, they didn't really tell me how many sharks would be down there or I never would have dived. When I went down, I saw more than 20 reef sharks swarming in a feeding frenzy. I started to cry. But I quickly got used to them and, if you can watch them from a safe place, they are very beautiful.”

Caan also had to overcome his innate fears, especially during the filming of a scene in which he has to fend off a shark on the open sea with nothing but a mop on the open sea. "I grew up surfing, and sharks were always bad news,” Caan recalls. "These sharks were coming right at me. They were snatching the mop handle right out of my hands with mouths the size of a motor block. I was never totally comfortable with them.”

Walker and Alba also had close encounters with reef sharks in the movie. Walker's character, among other things, is swarmed by feeding reef sharks as he tries to get into skin-diving gear while bobbing in the water. "I had seen sharks while diving in spots like Fiji, Hawaii and Costa Rica,” says Walker. "But I had never seen so many in one place. They're wild animals and you have to be leery of them, even when you have safety divers around you. In this scene I am treading water and these sharks are boiling all around me. They bump you a lot, so you can only kick them off the best you can. I must have had 30 sharks around me. It was very intense.”

Alba's character, Sam, is a professional shark handler at the Atlantis Resort in Nassau, so the actress spent a great deal of time learning how to deal with sharks by actu

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