John Stockwell Talks Dark Tide and Halle Berry

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John Stockwell Talks Dark Tide, Halle Berry, Codename: Geronimo, and In The Blood
By Wilson Morales

March 16, 2012

Currently out on VOD and slated to hit theaters on March 30th is the action thriller film, ‘Dark Tide,’ starring Academy Award winner Halle Berry.

Berry plays a professional diver tutor who returns to deep waters after a year following an almost fatal encounter with a great white shark that resulted in the death of a colleague. Also returning is her estranged lover Jeff, and before they know it, they discover that the nightmare from the deep is still lurking in the deep, more carnivorous and hungry than ever.

Directing the film is John Stockwell, who’s no stranger to filming around and in the water, having helmed ‘Blue Crush,’ ‘Into The Blue,’ and Turistas.’

The Texas native, who’s also known for his acting roles in the Tom Cruise films ‘Losin’ It’ and ‘Top Gun,’ and the Stephen King – John Carpenter film ‘Christine,’ got to explore another part of the ocean and work with sharks, which he had not done before.

In speaking with Blackfilm.com, Stockwell spoke about working with Halle Berry and co-star Olivier Martinez, who is now Berry’s fiancé, and his upcoming projects, including the Bid Laden film ‘Codename: Geronimo’ and ‘In The Blood,’ starring ‘Haywire’ actress and former mixed martial arts fighter Gina Carano.

What was the attraction to doing ‘Dark Tide?’

John Stockwell: Halle Berry. She was in love with the script. I sat down with her and I loved her passion for it. I’ve always been of hers and wanted to work with her. I obviously have work in the water before, with ‘Blue Crush’ and ‘Into The Blue,’ and I knew I would be up for the challenge.

How about working with sharks? Did that present a challenge?

JS: We had sharks in ‘Into the Blue’ but they were tame. In this movie, we had to work a lot harder to get the sharks and be much more careful when we were in the water with them. They were much more skittish and lethal.

How was Halle able to handle being in the water for so long?

JS: She hadn’t done that much free diving and in an earlier version of the script, the character was using scuba more. She worked with the divers from South Africa and got really good at it. Her biggest weakness was that she would get seasick. Since we shot a lot of the movie out in the open water on a 27 foot boat, that was an obstacle she had to overcome.

From the films you have done, you’ve been to a lot of exotic locations. How much fun is it to travel to these places?

JS: I’ve been blessed to go to the places I’m able to work in. From Hawaii to Rio to the Bahamas, to be working while everyone else is either vacationing or partying, and the big appeal to me is coming from a different worlds and culture and submersing yourself in that world. There’s no quicker way to go there than with a film.

How was working with Halle and Olivier? Were they a couple when filming began?

JS: No. They weren’t a couple when the film began. I’m not sure when they became a couple, but they certainly worked well together, and I couldn’t have got through the movie, and neither could Halle with Olivier. He was very comfortable on boats and around wild life and sharks and being in the water. He made her time much more pleasant. It was not an easy shoot. We were in rough seas and we had one toilet that was always occupied and she couldn’t use it and it was freezing. She went through five or six wet suits. It was a very challenging, physically grueling shoot. They’re a couple and they are convincing on and off screen.

Is ‘Dark Tide’ a thriller or a dramatic film?

JS: I see it as a suspense thriller. The time I was most nervous when I was in the water, or any of the divers, or Halle was in the water, is when we were on the surface and we didn’t know what was going on below us. That’s when you are most vulnerable and exposed. It’s not a straight down-the-middle action film. The character that Halle plays is majestic in that she swims with sharks and studies them outside the cage and we got some pretty incredible footage of great whites and our divers.

With Berry being amongst Hollywood’s A crowd, was this film a challenge to get into theaters?

JS: There’s a behind-the-scene component to this movie involving the financiers and producers. It’s one the realities of dealing in the independent film world. It’s a decision made by Lionsgate, who came in to distribute. That it was the smartest way to get the film out for most people to see it. I’ve never experienced this before so I’m curious to see how it plays out.

From the films that you appeared in, would you ever want to see a remake or sequel of ‘Christine?’

JS: I guess they could do a remake. We crushed the car but I guess it was still alive in the end. I loved the film. So much of that movie is a result of what John Carpenter brought to it. It would be hard for me to see how a remake or sequel could live up to the original.

Is ‘Codename: Geronimo’ your first big action thriller?

JS: Well, ‘Into the Blue’ is actually a bigger action movie in terms of budget. This is my first military, all-male movie and it involves a lot of gunfire. This film came together very quickly and it’s moving very quickly. We have a great cast with Robert Knepper, Xzibit and Kenneth Miller, Gigandet, and Rodriguez. William Fichtner, Kathleen Robertson and Eddie Kaye Thomas.

How different is this film from the one that Kathryn Bigelow is putting together?

JS: From what I understand and I haven’t read the script, I think her movie takes place long before Bin Laden was killed, and it’s more about the failed attempts to capture him. Once he was actually killed, they had to quickly revise the story. I don’t know. I think there will be some overlap with my film in that they end up with the same outcome unless they are rewriting history or they have a different version or Bin Laden is still alive. I really no nothing about it, but that it was reworked once Bin Laden was found and killed.

Right after that, will you go start shooting ‘In The Blood?’

JS: Yes. That’s a movie that will be shot in Puerto Rico and starts in May.

With Gina Carano’s sudden rise after ‘Haywire,’ was it difficult to get her for the lead?

JS: I had met her before but for something else, and then I saw ‘Haywire’ and I really liked her in it. It will definitely showcase her fighting skills but it’s really about a girl who’s struggling in the entire film not to fight and to keep her raw tough sense in check. I met with her and she read the script and loved the character and we wanted to work together. She’s training right now.

Are you still trying to get ‘Kid Cannabis’ off the ground?

JS: Yes. With all good movies, the best ones always take time. It was originally a story I read in Rolling Stone magazine and I optioned the article and I met the guy in prison. It took a while to get the details of the story right and the option rights. Then we had set it up at HBO Picturehouse and that theatrical entity dissolved and I got it back on my own and hope we will move forward with producer Datari (Turner).


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