. - 9.4" "24 years after Spielberg terrified audiences with laws, '5 DeeprIue Sea proves "it's still not safe to go back” into the water. H WQMserigel Floyd


, Deep Blue Sea'was, like the predatory

killing machines at its heart, br'utally simple: smart sharks. Or, to be precise, ge’neticaljyrmanipulated sharks that are smarter, bigger, faster

and deadlier than their non-mutated _

cousins. Although‘Marner Bros. bit

immediately, it took another four'

years for filming to begin. The obvious technical challenges aside, Finnish-born director Renny Harlin (Dig . Hard 2, The Long Kiss Goodnight, Cliffhanger, CutThroat

* Island) has his own theory about why

the project was delayed.

‘Probably one of the reasons it took so long was that a lot of filmmakers were hesitant to go into Jaws territory,’ suggests Harlin. ‘Being compared to laws, which was one of the most successful films ever, and done by Spielberg, is not exactly what you want. When I first heard about it, I said: "No way, you're crazy.“ But when I read the script, I realised that this was very different, and that this really could take the shark theme into the next Millennium.‘

On the floating Aquatica marine research facility, Dr Susan McAlester (Saffron Burrows) and her back-up team are seeking a cure for Alzheimer’s, the disease that killed her own father. During a visit by the laboratory's sceptical financial backer, Russell Franklin (Samuel L Jackson), a tropical storm inundates the facility with‘msea water, releasing three genetically enhanced Mako sharks into its flooded rgoms and hallways.

10 THE “ST 7~-2“ Oct ‘999 .

it's 'Jaws ~iridoors', as the Warner

publicity people are wont to say. Harlin's line on sharks as movie monsters is short, sharp and to the point: 'Sharks are such a primal source of terror —- they are real, they are not outer space monsters. They are something that we all deal with, on a certain level, when we go into the water. We all think that there might be sharks down there, and sometimes there are. So a shark is the perfect villain, because instead of having to spend a lot of screen time showing that this creature is really bad, you just show the audience a picture of a shark and they know.’ When Spielberg made Jaws, everybody said that it was really scary until the shark finally appeared. Twenty-four years on, Harlin knows that audiences raised on special effects movies expect to See the sharks in all their fearsome reality. 'In those days, Spielberg showed very little of the shark, because the

mechanical model didn't looktoo

good,’ he says. 'But nowadays, I it would be cheating to hide the sharks, so we have to show them a lot. We've used live sharks, animatronics and comphter- generated images to create scary situations where they are really close to the actors.’

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Another key to Deep Blue Sea‘s credibility is the casting which Harlin had to fight for, going as it did against the Warner's grain. Ordinarily, the studio would cast an‘ expensive major star say.‘Me| or Clint - then build the film ar'ound them. Harlin‘s approach was exactly the opposite. 'The whole approacHt’o casting Deep Blue Sea was that if we hired big stars to play the leadparts, then, the audience more: know that nothing is gbingto happen to them,’

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