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INTO THE BLUE

Acting Underwater
"The environment underwater is very dynamic, and nothing is in slow motion,” explains Stockwell. "Each actor had his own style when swimming underwater. Paul was powerful, like a dolphin. Scott was sturdier with a rougher edge, while Jessica and Ashley were smooth and graceful. Jessica probably held her breath better than the other actors, though Scott could free dive 100 feet by the time we wrapped. There is a beauty and a mystery about shooting underwater that made this film a real pleasure. It's the same reason I so enjoyed directing Blue Crush.”

Stunt coordinator Mickey Giacomazzi (Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World) and dive safety officer Dan Malone (The Punisher) were brought aboard to ensure the cast would come to no harm during the film's many fight sequences. Sharks, explosives, boats and firearms were to be employed at one time or another and the unsteady marine environment was always an unknown factor in every day's shooting. Although three teams of doubles were used for some of the film's more dangerous stunts, most of the work was done by the film's principal actors. "The shots were always designed to keep our water safety people as close to the action as possible at all time,” says producer Zelon. "Whenever our actors were down, there were always two or three divers right next to them, even if we weren't working with sharks.”

One fight scene, aboard the treasure boat Sea Robin, involved Alba engaging in a fierce showdown with actor Chris Taloa, who plays treasure hunter Quinn. During the scene, Alba repeatedly strikes Taloa with a sharp grappling hook as they tumbled across the deck in turbulent waters. "I was very grateful that Jessica had had so much stunt training in her other work,” says Taloa, who also appeared in Stockwell's Blue Crush. "She was quite considerate of my flesh with the grappling hook, which fortunately had a retractable hook. If there was anyone who needed a stunt double that day, it was me. She is tough.”

Alba impressed many of the cast and crew with her willingness to jump into whatever action required of her character with the zeal of a seasoned stuntwoman. "Jessica is definitely not prissy,” laughs Stockwell. "She just wants to scrap all the time. She could hold her breath the longest, fight as hard as any stunt person and never once complained.”

Her co-star, Walker, concurs. "Jessica is really coordinated and super capable. She really gets into throwing kicks and punches. I loved watching her. She was so competitive. She is really feminine, but at heart she is a tomboy.”

For Alba, her fondest memory of the shoot wasn't the execution of the action sequences, but rather the strong bond that developed among the actors. After training for months and shooting constantly in the bright sun and cool waters, the actors became a closely-knit team. "We spent so much time together on the boat and in the sun, day after day, that we really got to know one another quite well," she remembers. "There were no divas on this film. When you are working underwater, you have to trust each other with your lives. We have an unspoken bond now."

Stockwell discovered that that bond was invaluable during the difficult underwater sequences, when he was not able to give them the close direction he could on dry land. While working in the turbulent waves of Blue Crush had been a challenge, he says it paled by comparison to handling the deepwater sequences of Into the Blue. "Directing an actor underwater is like directing them on the moon,” Stockwell admits. "It was impossible for them to hear me, so I wound up using sign language or a slate board. All the actors have to work with is their eyes, since their mouths usually have regulators in them. That's why I decided to get as much free diving into the script as possible, so we could at least see their e

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