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DEEP BLUE SEA

About The Production
The mako shark is a highly prized sport fish; while not as infamous as the great white, the mako is known for its speed and maneuverability in the water, clocking in at more than 60 miles per hour

The mako shark is a highly prized sport fish; while not as infamous as the great white, the mako is known for its speed and maneuverability in the water, clocking in at more than 60 miles per hour. They are aggressive in temperament and have a capacity for consuming large prey. The gestation period for the mako shark is approximately 12 months. The gestation period for a feature film script with genetically altered mako sharks -- about four years.

In late 1994, the producing team of Alan Riche and Tony Ludwig received a script that had been written on speculation, and they remember, "We got this great script about sharks and we hadn't read or heard of anything like it…well, since 'Jaws.' Only in that film, the shark was in its own environment. In 'Deep Blue Sea,' through a series of occurrences, the sharks are now in our environment. So the basic premise is what if these monsters were suddenly stalking us where we live."

Riche adds, "The shark is the archetype of that which lurks below our consciousness. There's an ancient fear here."

The producers brought the script to Warner Bros. The project, as it lay on the page, was an ambitious one -- a modern day horror tale about a group of scientists attempting to survive attacks from the genetically-engineered sharks they created -- that required state-of-the-art effects (animatronics and CGI), as well as a studio facility that could accommodate the film's massive floating and submerged sets. The script also called for a young, athletic cast that could meet the physical demands of the diving and stunts. And perhaps most importantly, the project needed to be helmed by a director adept at the larger-than-life fireworks and scale of an all-stops-out action picture.

"It took about 2 years to get to the point where we knew we could get the right picture made," offers Ludwig, "and it really had less to do with what we were doing and more to do with the technology that had been created. In a confluence of events, 'Titanic' was just beginning to be developed, and Fox Baja Studios was being built for that movie. The 'Free Willy' series of pictures had become hugely successful utilizing constantly refined computer-driven animatronic technology. It was those two events, coupled with the development of this picture -- all of it working at the same time -- that brought us to the point where we could begin 'Deep Blue Sea.'"

Writer/producer Akiva Goldsman was approached by Warner Bros. to come aboard for development and remembers, "Up until that point, doing a shark picture meant heads above the water and underwater POV shots of flailing hands and feet -- that's limiting. But what we had was a story of a sinking facility. People aren't just dog-paddling or swimming away from sharks. You have people running, half-submerged in water, leaping onto shelves and scaling walls with sharks nipping at their feet in pursuit. It's scary and interesting and takes advantage of the kind of technologies that weren't available until quite recently."

Another turning point for the picture was the availability of acclaimed action director Renny Harlin who offered, according to Riche and Ludwig, "the idea of somebody who can grasp huge concepts and, at the same time, intimate, suspenseful drama, bringing all of that huge scope down to the human level. How are these humans operating? How are they reacting to this large

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