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Jason Statham: One of the first fascinations I had with the underwater world was watching “The Big Blue”

Flicks.co.nz visited the set of “MEG” at Auckland Film Studios in New Zealand in December 2016 and got to interview our favorite Brit and director Jon Turteltaub.

When asked if he’d [Jon Turteltaub] consulted with others about the technical aspects of shooting so much of a film on the water, the director answered in the affirmative. “I did. First of all, Jason’s done a ton and was very helpful in telling me how badly it was going to go: “It’s so hard. It’s horrible. It’s water. It’s a mess.” And he’s right. It’s tough. But I’ve talked with a lot of people, not just about shooting out in the water, but shooting in a tank, and what to do to make that look good, based on all the people who called and said, “Here’s what to do to make it look bad” So we’ve improved on it a lot”.

At this point attention quickly turned to Statham’s past as a competitive diver. “Well, it’s funny because when we reference my former years as a diver, everything that I did was above water”, Statham chuckled to an appreciative audience. “So people get confused. “Oh, he was a diver.” They seem to think that you’re naturally good underneath, which is not the case. But I learned to dive, scuba diving, years and years ago, for a movie I did with Luc Besson. And I had just gotten so addicted to it then. In fact, one of the first fascinations I had with the underwater world was watching The Big Blue. And I was sort of obsessed with the free divers, and how they could take a breath on the surface, and go six, seven, eight-hundred feet. I mean, to think that you could do 800 feet on a breath of air, it’s fascinating what we’re capable of. So, yeah, I’ve always been interested in the underwater world. And the fact that we’ve come to make a movie about something as fascinating as what lies down at the bottom of the ocean is a great thing because no one really knows what’s down there. It’s the only thing that we certainly do know that we don’t know about.”

For sure, the ocean floor is a fascinating environment. But being parochial Kiwis obsessed with how we’re perceived from afar, the opportunity to bring up Statham’s time in Auckland at the 1990 Commonwealth Games couldn’t slip past. Did coming back to New Zealand conjure fond memories, he was asked.

“Well, we were shoved in a village that they’ve created, with these little mobile homes”, the athletic actor recalled. “And they sort of wanted to keep a close eye on us because they probably knew what we’d get up to! We were sort of entrapped in this compound. So never really got to see much until we finished our competitions. And then the wheels sort of came off, and we found a wee pub in Auckland. And so I can’t remember a thing about it [laughs]. That was a long time ago, it was a lot of fun back then. And this time, I really get to experience going around and living like the locals do, or try to.”

For the complete interview with other cast members, make sure you click the link above.

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