×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

‘Adrift’ Director Baltasar Kormakur on Casting Shailene Woodley, Shooting Surrounded by Sharks

Baltasar Kormakur has taken on epics like “Everest,” an action-comedy in “Two Guns” and an atmospheric Icelandic TV drama series with “Trapped.” The director-producer-writer is often drawn to tales of extreme elements and survival. Starring Shailene Woodley and Sam Claifin in the true story of a couple who faces tragedy on the ocean, “Adrift” open June 1.

Why are you so drawn to stories about the sea?

I’m Pisces, my sign is water. I was a competitive sailor as a kid and I was drawn to the sea. This was my first story about about sailing. Iceland is surrounded by water, so it’s part of my life.

What is it about tales of survival that attracts you?

It’s very raw and visceral, coming from a country where nature and the weather are a constant. When people face these elements, the person behind the person comes out — the mask comes off.

What appealed to you about the book the movie is based on?

It was one of the first scripts I’ve seen that’s a woman against nature.

Were there any scary moments during filming?

Kind of every day! Filming in Fiji, at one point we were surrounded by 50 bull sharks. I tried to make it safe, but it’s easy to get it wrong under those conditions. It was 12 to 14 hours a day in the water.

What made you think Shailene Woodley was the right choice to star?

I loved her performance in “The Descendants.” There’s something earthy about Shailene, she’s a free spirit, a nature-loving girl. Her emotions were authentic, and she’s very strong in the water. She did her own stunts in the water and under the sailboat.

Why do you switch back and forth between working in Hollywood and Iceland?

Hollywood is a great opportunity to play on a bigger stage, with a bigger budget. But Iceland lets me create something as part of a community — I opened a studio there — and gives it more of a meaning.

When will we see Season 2 of “Trapped”? 

Early next year. It has sold out around the world.

What’s the biggest difference between working in film and TV for you?

The way it’s evolved is that most people are just making films for television. It gives you more range for the characters, they don’t have to be instantly empathetic, you don’t have to get everyone (in the theaters) in the first weekend. TV is like slow cooking, it allows you to take your time. But I love films.

More Film

  • '2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live

    Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’

    The Academy skewed dark in its choice of live-action shorts this year, selecting four films to slit your wrists by — each one featuring child endangerment in a different form — and a fifth, about a diabetic on her death bed, that finds a glimmer of uplift at the other end of life. If that [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Yorgos Lanthimos

    Film News Roundup: 'The Favourite' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Boards Crime Drama

    In today’s film news roundup, Yorgos Lanthimos has set up a crime drama, “Here Lies Daniel Tate” is being adapted, and Donna Langley becomes a member of the USC film school board. DIRECTOR HIRED “The Favourite” producer-director Yorgos Lanthimos has signed on to write and direct crime drama “Pop. 1280,” an adaptation of Jim Thompson’s [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business

    Hollywood Agents Blast Writers Guild Over New Proposals

    The war between the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood agents has escalated as the two sides battle over the rules on how writers are represented. The latest volley emerged Friday from Karen Stuart, executive director of the Association of Talent Agents, who accused WGA leaders of misleading its members and asserted that the guild [...]

  • Xavier Legrand Custody

    Cesar Awards: Xavier Legrand’s ‘Custody’ Wins Best Film

    Xavier Legrand’s feature debut “Custody,” a tense portrait of a family torn by domestic violence, won best film, actress (for Lea Drucker), and original screenplay at the 44th Cesar Awards, which took place at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. The awards are France’s highest film honors. “Custody,” which marks Legrand’s follow up to his Oscar-nominated [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content