About The Production
"Deep Rising" was shot in and around Vancouver, Canada, on an 85-day schedule
"Deep Rising" was shot in and around Vancouver, Canada,
on an 85day schedule. Much of the production was filmed
at Versatile Shipyards, a historic ship assembly plant on the
city's North Shore.
On site, crews worked to build several major sets, which included
the engine room, the exterior of the Argonautica, the deck and
below, plus two sets of hallways to be filled with water.
The mammoth undertaking was supervised by construction coordinator
Craig Henderson. As he recalls, "I think the greatest challenge
was the sheer size and weight of things. we couldn't just pick
something up and move it ten feet. We had to bring in a piece
of equipment to move it "
A crew of nearly 80 (metal fabricators, scenic carpenters, painters,
riggers) worked full time at the shipyard, while another crew-equal
to that size-worked at the Bridge Studios creating other sets.
Equipment onsite included a huge crane to lid the Saipan
out of the ocean and into a massive water tank measuring 200 ft.
x 200 ft. x 15 ft. The secondlargest water tank ever built
for a feature film, it took four giant Caterpillar excavators
to generate the pounding waves required for the storm sequences.
"The film required a lot of steel," says Henderson.
"At one point in time, we had about one million dollars worth
of scaffolding onsite. We used truckloads of plywood and
855 cement lock blocks. We had so much concrete, we could have
built our own interchanged
And, adds Sommers, "We basically built, piecebypiece,
an entire cruise ship. Real cruise ships, though, are solid metal.
They're too cramped for our purposes, and it's impossible to film
inside them. I wanted to make sure we could move the camera a
lot-360 degrees up, down, sideways-and so we built our sets to
meet the demands of our camera shots."
Writer/director Stephen Sommers remembers much of the production
with "everyone up to their waists in water, mud, smoke and
muck." After enduring weeks of seafaring scenes, Sommers
and company were delighted to get on dry land to shoot inside
the atrium lobby of the cruise ship designed by Holger Gross,
who relished the opportunity to create a '90s version of a luxury
His design resulted in an Asianthemed atrium, built on three
levels, featuring a pagoda and a miniature Great Wall of China.
His work provided a spectacular backdrop to the opening party
sequences, which featured hundreds of extras and a circus of performers,
including firebreathers, jugglers, magicians, acrobats and
Kendo sword fighters.
In addition to the ship's design, Gross was responsible for the
design of seven other major sets which involved massive construction.
To ensure accuracy, Gross toured large ships, paying particular
attention to the layout of their engine rooms.
"It is not one room with an engine," he explains. "It's
more like half the ship's length and up to seven stories high."
The challenge facing him was to provide spaces for the tentacled
sea monsters to invade-and also to create "buckling"
walls which would achieve the effect of having the creatures appear
to be inside the walls, undulating up and down, preparing to seize
their helpless human targets.
Some of the exterior sequences were shot by a second unit on rough
seas outside the city of Tofino on the rugged coast of Vancouver
Island. The crew was headed by Dean Cundey who, as a director
of photography, numbers among his credits "Who Framed Roger
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