×
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

  • Naomi Scott Talks Rebooting Princess Jasmine

    'Aladdin': Naomi Scott on Why Her Princess Jasmine Needed Nasim Pedrad's New Character

    Call Naomi Scott the queen of the reboot – or at least, the princess. The 26-year-old actress is taking on the role of Princess Jasmine in Disney’s live-action remake of “Aladdin,” but it’s not her first time jumping into a role that’s already been well-established. Audiences may recognize Scott from 2017’s “Power Rangers” update, where [...]

  • Moby Natalie Portman

    Moby Accuses Natalie Portman of Lying as the Two Spar Over Dating Claims

    In what’s become a he said/she said spat in multiple mediums, Moby, the elder statesman of electronic music, is now accusing actress Natalie Portman of lying and pleading to those on social media for his safety as “physical threats from complete strangers” emerge. To recap: this month, Moby released a new book, “Then It All [...]

  • A QUIET PLACE Emily Blunt

    'A Quiet Place' Sequel Moves Ahead Two Months to March 2020

    Paramount Pictures has moved its sequel to “A Quiet Place” ahead by two months from May 15 to March 20, 2020. John Krasinski is returning to direct the still-untitled movie with Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe reprising their roles. Cillian Murphy is joining the cast. “A Quiet Place” grossed $340 million at the [...]

  • Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Covino's

    Cannes: Sony Pictures Classics Buys Michael Covino's 'The Climb'

    Sony Pictures Classics has acquired all worldwide rights, excluding France and German-speaking Europe, to Michael Angelo Covino’s buddy comedy “The Climb.” The film premiered in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes Film Festival and won the Un Certain Regard Heart Prize alongside “A Brother’s Love” on Friday. Covino directed, co-wrote (with Kyle Marvin) [...]

  • Aladdin

    'Aladdin' Heads for Magical $100 Million Opening in North America

    Disney’s live-action “Aladdin” is heading for at least $100 million in North America during the four-day Memorial Day holiday weekend, early estimates showed Friday. “Aladdin” will likely finish Friday with around $30 million, including $7 million in Thursday night previews. Sony’s launch of horror-thriller “Brightburn” should pull in about $10 million for the holiday weekend and [...]

  • Henry Ian Cusick

    'Lost' Star Henry Ian Cusick Signs With Buchwald (EXCLUSIVE)

    Henry Ian Cusick, best known for playing Desmond on the hit ABC series “Lost,” is signing with talent agency Buchwald for representation. Cusick also starred in the CW sci-fi/drama “The 100” and was most recently seen in the Fox series “The Passage.” His other notable television credits include “Scandal,” “24,” “Fringe,” “The Mentalist,” “Body of [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content