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
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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