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Shark Bait
In the classic horror movies of the past, part of the fun arises from the "who's-going-to-get-it-next

In the classic horror movies of the past, part of the fun arises from the "who's-going-to-get-it-next?" effect. Harlin and his producers embraced this concept when it came to casting the motion picture.

Harlin offers, "We wanted to cast actors who were solid actors but not necessarily movie stars, as in the first 'Alien' movie, where nobody could have expected that Sigourney Weaver was going to survive. We really wanted to twist the story and put the audience in a position where they have no idea who is who, or what's going to happen to these people. We want them to get to know these people as real, true flesh-and-blood characters rather than 'movie stars.'"

Producer Goldsman echoes, "The advantage to casting actors, as opposed to stars, is that you may identify with a character who is suddenly taken away, leaving you feeling stranded. In 'Alien,' Tom Skerritt is so clearly the hero of the movie. When he's killed you feel, as I'm sure Ripley [Sigourney Weaver] did, 'my God, I'm left here without somebody to protect me.'"

But Harlin also wanted to cast Oscar-nominated actor (and star of the director's "The Long Kiss Goodnight") Samuel L. Jackson ("a movie star who is an actor") in the movie, "…as a kind of anchor in the middle of the story. Once we had him, I went after the other cast members -- solid performers who could pull off these characters as real, emotional and as touching as possible. And meet the challenges of these incredibly physical roles."

Ludwig adds, "We really wanted to turn upside down the audience expectation that is inherent in this kind of a genre movie. Who's gonna live and who's gonna die?"

Jackson comments, "I looked forward to doing this picture, and it's something different for me. I grew up watching monster movies. Even though this has a different kind of monster, it has all of the elements of films like 'Frankenstein,' 'The Wolfman' and of course 'Jaws.' But 'Deep Blue Sea' takes a lot of the conventions from previous films and turns them into something new. Inside it is a great monster movie plus a big chase movie, and I like being chased by things."

Jackson also adds, "You know, we're the smartest thing on the planet theoretically, but when we get in the ocean, we're out of our element, other things become a lot brighter and stronger and faster and more adept at dealing than we are. So we are put in a position of having to out-think the sharks, and that's one of the appealing elements of this film."

The filmmakers had seen Thomas Jane in several acclaimed independent features and approached him to play shark wrangler Carter Blake. Jane says, "I knew it was going to be tough and challenging and worth every second. You get 40,000 gallons of water dumped on you. You get dragged around by a 8,000 pound shark. Fall off of ladders. Get burned. Drowned. Beaten. It's been fun."

Jane continues, "When you read the script it says, 'Carter steps outside.' It doesn't say, 'Carter steps outside and gets hit by 4,000 gallons of water, and a helicopter hovers over his head in a swirling tropical thunderstorm at sea, and suddenly a two-ton shark just misses him by inches.' But that's what it's like working on a Harlin picture." (The actor prepared for the role with an extensive workout regimen and admits, "Sometimes even that didn't ready me for the work…but it's been a great ride.")

Harlin had also caught E

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