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Matthew Modine on 47 Meters Down

47 Meters Down

(l-r) Matthew Modine, Claire Holt and Mandy Moore. (©Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures)

Every summer there is a movie with shark. This summer won’t be any different. 47 Meters Down ‘dives in’ Friday, June 16, the first film distributed by Entertainment Studios. The film was purchased from The Weinstein Company a day before it hits the DVD shelves, fortunately we can watch this creepy story on the big screen. Directed by Johannes Roberts who also wrote the script alongside with Ernest Riera.

On the rebound after a devastating break-up, Lisa, played by Mandy Moore, is ready for adventure while on vacation in Mexico. Even still, she needs a little extra persuasion when her daring sister Kate, played by Claire Holt, suggests they go shark diving with some locals. Once underwater in a protective cage, Lisa and Kate catch a once in a lifetime, face-to-face look at majestic Great Whites. But when their worst fears are realized and the cage breaks away from their boat, they find themselves plummeting to the bottom of the seabed, too deep to radio for help without making themselves vulnerable to the savage sharks, their oxygen supplies rapidly dwindling. Aside from Moore and Holt, the film stars Matthew Modine, Yani Gellman, Chris Johnson, and more.

American Actor Matthew Modine plays Captain Taylor in this thriller. Let’s check it out what Matthew spoke about it during the roundtable interviews a couple of weeks ago in Beverly Hills.

What was it about 47 Meters Down that attracted you to it?

Matthew Modine – It was a terrific horror movie without supernatural elements. I was speaking with someone from China who told me they don’t make horror films there because if there are supernatural elements then it is forbidden. Culturally, it’s forbidden because of spiritual aspects. So this was a horror movie without that supernatural aspects. It’s a horror film about something that could happen, that might happen, that does happen.

47-meters-down-4You play a maverick boat captain who agrees to take these young women on a shark sighting expedition. What was your research in playing Captain Taylor?

Matthew – I started scuba diving when I was 14 or 15 years old in San Diego. I wanted to be an oceanographer. I studied oceanography. I wanted to be like Jacques Cousteau. I’m really excited to be working on a collaboration with a woman named Sylvia Earle who is probably the preeminent marine biologists in the world today. She’s doing something really wonderful creating Hope Spots. There was an article on the front page of the New York Times a few weeks ago that talked about how 90 percent of the world’s fish stocks are gone. What they say is happening today is the equivalent and going into people’s homes and taking their children. We’re killing future generations of fish. There are not going to be fish to reproduce to fill those fish stocks. There are over 100 million sharks killed every year for their fins to make soup. The shark is an incredibly important part of the ecosystem of the ocean. To be killing fish at the rate that we are, we’re inevitably going to kill ourselves. You could take all the fish out of the ocean and, to us, the ocean would appear to be exactly the same because we look at the surface. We don’t think about what’s going on deep below the surface of the ocean. So we have to become conscious of those creatures that we share this world with. What Sylvia Earl is doing by creating Hope Spots around the world in different places, she’s giving fish a fighting chance to be able to reproduce. There’s a Chinese proverb: we don’t plant trees for ourselves, we plant them for our grandchildren.

 The sharks aren’t the real predators in this. It’s the mistakes made by the people on the boat that leads to their predicament.

Matthew – What do you expect to happen when you dump a bunch of blood in the water and then put humans in the water? This is what David Letterman used to call Stupid Human Tricks.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were reluctant to do something risky, but a close friend or family member persuaded you to do it?

Matthew – My wife talked me into jumping out of an airplane for a television program. It was something she wanted to do. I said, “I don’t have any interest in jumping out of an airplane. We did a tandem jump. I did four tandems and then my solo. On my solo jump my parachute did not open. When I was getting ready to do my solo jump, the guy that was coaching me talked about all the things that could go wrong. He said, “if the parachute doesn’t open, you reach up and grab those handles and you pump and you pump and you pump!” This guy was looking at me so hard that I feel like he packed my parachute badly because he knew it was going to happen. I was thinking, “That guy tried to kill me!” I was falling 122 feet a second and the earth was racing toward me and so I pumped and pumped and pumped. Finally, it opened and when I got on the ground I kissed the ground. I can’t watch any kind of program now where someone’s jumping out of a plane without feeling a lump in my throat. It makes me physically sick. I get dizzy. It’s horrible.

So, you didn’t blame your wife, right?

Matthew – Yeah, I did.

Did you get injured while making this film?

Matthew – Not this time. I’ve been knocked out twice on film sets. I’ve probably had 100 stitches from things happening on film sets. I wish they had been good movies where I could say it was worth it. But movie sets can be dangerous places. On Cutthroat Island I got hit by a nail. It was attached to a board and I’m on camera screaming to co-star Geena Davis, “Morgan!” There had these water guns that were shooting and it caught one of these boards that had a 16-penny nail. It was coming right at my temple, but at the last minute I turned and it scraped across the back of my head. It opened up the back of my head and I had to get stitches. And the day I got my stitches out, we were filming a scene where we were jumping from a balcony into the back of a wagon and there was this funnel-like device that had an explosive attached that was filled with cork. When Geena and I jumped out of the wagon, the wagon exploded. But when we jumped from the balcony what happened is one of the whiskey barrels that was on it rolled on top of this explosive and it became a projectile. So when the explosive detonated, the whiskey barrel went flying and it’s like chasing me, and it came down and hit me right in the back of my head where I had just had the stitches taken out. I was barefoot in my shitty costume. I knew I had to get out of the frame and as soon as I was out of the frame, I threw my sword down and screamed, “I don’t want to play anymore! I want to go home!” There I am with no shoes on, running through flames.

What’s next for you?

Matthew – Soldado, the sequel to Sicario. It will be equally as good and probably better. I saw about 15 minutes of it when we were filming. They cut together a piece as we were breaking for Christmas. And it’s just beautiful and terrifying. Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin and Catherine Keener are at the top of their game. I was really excited to participate in the film. I’m leaving next week to go do a film with John Travolta, where I’m going to play George Herbert Walker Bush. It’s a movie about the making of the cigarette boats. Don Aranow invented these really fast boats. They became boats that were used by drug smugglers. Bush bought a bunch of them for the U.S. government to combat the drug runners. So I’m working on my George H.W. Bush imitation without sounding like Dana Carvey.

47 Meters Down could be the Jaws of 2017.

Matthew – From your mouth to God’s ear. But this is different from Jaws. Peter Benchley’s book is the first big, thick book that I read when I was little. The shark seemed to be something more than simply a shark. It was a different kind of monster than Frankenstein or Dracula. It was something deeply primordial—the fear that the shark provided in the book.  In the film, the shark almost has a consciousness. It wants “that boat” and the people on “that boat,” to get them. It wants to get Robert Shaw and swallow him. This film doesn’t have that. The real predator in the movie is man. It’s the stupidity of humans going out and behaving stupidly out in the open sea.

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