Video:Sanctum - Alister Grierson and Andrew Wight Interviewswith Rebecca Murray
Director Alister Grierson and writer/producer Andrew Wight hit the red carpet at the world premiere of Universal Pictures' underwater adventure film, 'Sanctum,' chatting up the 3D film and discussing the difficulties of shooting underwater.See Transcript
Transcript:Sanctum - Alister Grierson and Andrew Wight InterviewsRebecca Murray from About.com Hollywood Movies at the World Premiere of Universal Pictures' Sanctum.
Sanctum Director Alister GriesonWhat was more difficult - filming underwater or making sure you got the 3D shots you needed?
Alister Grierson: "The 3D wasn't really part of our consideration making the picture, as strange as that might sound. You really want to set it up technically so that it takes care of itself, and then it's just business as usual. So our biggest concern was water, you know, obviously, because there's huge technical implications and safety implications."
How difficult was it to choose a cast? Most of these actors don't dive, so why didn't you choose divers who could maybe act instead of actors who didn't know how to dive?
Alister Grierson: "Well, you know some of them did. Allison [Cratchley] is in one of the first scenes. She's an actor but she'd done a lot of diving on a television show that she used to be on. So I actually employed her because I knew she was going to do the hardest underwater stunt in the movie and I was really concerned that an actor who was just learning to dive might not be able to deal with that environment. But having said that, she did it with Richard [Roxburgh] who'd never dived before and he had to do the same thing. So it was very, very challenging for those guys but they really loved it, you know, doing it. I think it's much easier in our business to actually teach an actor to dive than to teach a diver to act."
How tough was it to actually give them directions when they were performing underwater?
Alister Grierson: "Well it's great because they can't talk back at you. It's the perfect directing environment. But look, they could hear what I was saying. We had two communication systems. One was either directly to them individually, or one was communally to everyone underwater. So I'd sit there with my cinematographer and between the two of us we could talk to everyone underwater. And the special effects guys, the stunt guys, they could all talk to each other. It's complicated, but it's doable. You can do it."
We see the scenes of them underwater, and we see everything going on when they're in jeopardy. But this is really a survival tale, a family tale? How would you describe it?
Alister Grierson: "I think it's a father/son story, and I think there's a coming of age element in there as well. And that was the most important theme for me to focus in on when we were making the picture, and certainly the most important thing for the actors. Hopefully, the arcs of the characters when they intercept at the end of the movie, that's really where I was trying to get at. And certainly in the cut, we were always focusing on that and trying to make it tighter and leaner, and get that story right. So the thrill ride elements of it, for me, are kind of like they're great and they're fun - and we want people to get really good value for money when they come to the cinema and really enjoy that experience - but I want them to take away that family story at the end."
Sanctum Writer/Producer Andrew WightThis is inspired by a story, correct?
Andrew Wight: "That's right. Where the reality and the fantasy come into play is I got caught in a cave collapse. I was an expedition leader for a cave diving expedition and we had a storm. It collapsed the cave and 15 people were trapped below ground. So that in itself is a pretty dramatic event, but the thing is we all got out safely after two days being trapped. But if you could imagine being underground stuck without any light for two days, that's pretty freaky. The problem with that is there was no light, 15 people, very hard to make a movie about that, but it's a really good character story. And that's what really got me going. I thought, 'Wow, this is really inspirational, and there's a really tremendous film about the whole experience of caves and cave diving.' And so then we started borrowing bits from other stories, other adventures that I had, so that we could create a world that would be as close to that experience as we could make it."
Why would you want to relive that?
Andrew Wight: "Well I didn't want to necessarily relive it, I wanted to share it because it's one of those things where you say, 'I'm a cave diver,' and they go, 'Wow, what's that all about?' You try and explain it and it's really difficult. If I could put you in a movie theater for the next two hours, dim the lights, in 3D show you what that experience might be like, that's what this movie is all about. It's a white-knuckle ride."
It was always intended to be in 3D?
Andrew Wight: "Absolutely because we wanted to be a visceral adventure where you could feel like you were there without actually having to endanger yourself to do it. And that's the whole thing. I think good movies are all about having an experience that you wouldn't normally have. And if we can deliver that to you, that's a great afternoon at the pictures."
Wasn't it kind of chancy talking a chance on a guy who hadn't directed a 3D film before and it's in this kind of environment?
Andrew Wight: "Well being able to direct 3D didn't matter because he could direct the movie, and that's what we wanted. His first film Kokoda was a really well made film. And when Jim [Cameron] and I watched that we said, 'This guy, the subject matter is going to suit what we're trying to do. He's got a good grasp of filmmaking, and if we give him the right tools he's our guy.' And I think he's proved himself right up to the task and made a cracking film."
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