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On Location in 'Open Water'

Detail from the poster for 'Open Water.'
Detail from the poster for 'Open Water.'

Forget "Bruce" the mechanical shark, star of Steven Spielberg's 1975 classic Jaws. For the low-budget thriller Open Water, actors Blanchard Ryan and Daniel Travis were required to film on location in 60 feet of ocean water with live sharks.

Ryan and Travis play a yuppie couple on vacation in the Caribbean for a bit of fun and scuba diving. Based on a true story, the script has the two surfacing after a dive to discover that their dive boat has left them behind, miles from dry land. Inevitably, they begin to get attention from notoriously aggressive reef sharks.

The actors recently spoke to NPR's Scott Simon about the experience and about exactly why they signed on to work under such hazardous circumstances.

Director Chris Kentis and producer Laura Lau, who released the critically acclaimed movie Grind in 1997, are behind Open Water. They filmed their actors in the shark-infested water for over 120 hours.

Travis and Ryan wore chain mail sleeves under their wet suits and stress that every possible precaution was taken for their safety during the shoot.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Simon is one of America's most admired writers and broadcasters. He is the host of Weekend Edition Saturday and is one of the hosts of NPR's morning news podcast Up First. He has reported from all fifty states, five continents, and ten wars, from El Salvador to Sarajevo to Afghanistan and Iraq. His books have chronicled character and characters, in war and peace, sports and art, tragedy and comedy.