Released on Digital and DVD this summer, DEEP BLUE SEA 3 is the latest instalment in a franchise that began more than 20 years ago with the cult hit DEEP BLUE SEA. This time out, the genetically modified, super smart sharks that escaped at the end of the previous film are out for blood, and it is up to a hodgepodge band of humans – based on a town built on a coral reef – to survive, save the sharks or both be destroyed.
Movies.ie had the pleasure of a socially distant chat with star Emerson Brooks, to find out what lockdown has meant for him, the challenges of filming in water, and why audiences love killer sharks.
How has your lockdown been?
Emerson Brooks: I’d rather not be in quarantine [laughs]. I would rather be doing anything else, but it’s gone pretty well. I don’t have any children, so I don’t have little humans around me all day, demanding my attention, so that’s a plus. It’s a little stressful, but I have been able to focus on myself, and exercise and try to stay healthy [laughs] so we will see how that goes!
I have taken up yoga and baking like the rest of the world…
EB: There you go! I think we are all doing that! Next step is, you’re gonna buy an exercise bike and start making sourdough! [laughs]
It is hard to believe, but the DEEP BLUE SEA franchise is more than 20 years old. Were you a fan of it before you got involved with this film?
EB: Absolutely. The first one came out back in ’99, and it was a cult hit. Everybody absolutely loved it. I think the public was yearning for a really great shark horror movie. So you have LL Cool J and Samuel L. Jackson and Thomas Jane and everybody kicking butt. I loved it. It was great to see one of my childhood favourite musicians – LL Cool J – who was a big tough guy, playing a cook. I wasn’t expecting that!
Was it this love of the franchise that made you want to be involved with DEEP BLUE SEA 3?
EB: I really liked the character, honestly. My character’s name is Eugene Shaw, I thought he was super interesting, and the things he got to do, and the fact that he acted as an anchor for Emma Collins – played by Tania Raymonde. I felt that was a role I hadn’t really played before. The name DEEP BLUE SEA 3 came second. I started reading it and I saw DEEP BLUE SEA 3, but it just didn’t register. I started reading it and I really liked this dude, and I told my mentor [to] look at this character and he was like “Oh my god! DEEP BLUE SEA 3! That would be amazing!” and I was like “Ohhh!”. So all of that came second and added to it; made it a little more exciting when I actually went and auditioned for it.
What are your personal feelings about sharks? Are you more afraid of them having done DEEP BLUE SEA 3?
EB: I live in a coastal city, I go to Hawaii pretty frequently… Well, I used to. I love surfing, I know how to scuba now. If it’s my time to be shark dinner, it’s gonna be my time. Personally, am I afraid of getting eaten by a shark? No. Do I secretly have superhero like dreams of a shark attacks me and I fight it off, and I climb out of the water with a cool scratch on my face and everyone is like ‘Yeah this guy beat up a shark!’? Sure, who doesn’t have those kind of dreams. I think sharks are best in movies and not next to you in the water.
You hear stories from films like TITANIC, that filming in water is brutal. How challenging was that for you?
EB: I’m not gonna second guess Leo DiCaprio, he’s right. Filming in the water is tough, it doesn’t matter if it’s a beautiful day, it does not mater if it is a freezing cold day; it all feels the same when you are in and out of the water, and standing there in the elements. It’s a labour of love, and it is definitely a labour. It makes it more exciting… If you are underwater in scuba gear, being filmed with underwater cameras that’s way more exciting than sitting on a sound stage, shooting a normal talking scene. Anything that is that exciting to shoot is gonna come with its challenges, and I would do it again in a second, to be honest with you. There were some days when it was pretty cold because, sure when you are in scuba gear and you have got the full suit on, sure, you’re warm. It could be zero degrees and if you have got a good wetsuit on, you’re fine. On movies like this you are just in your regular clothes getting wet, so you are just shaking all day long, but you see the end result and you go ‘You know what? That was worth it’. [laughs]
There is definitely a fascination with killer sharks, there are so many SHARKNADO films now, obviously there is the classic JAWS, and there is a film coming out later this year called SKY SHARKS, which looks amazingly bonkers. Why do you think audiences love killer sharks so much?
EB: Oh man! Sharks are so much a part of our cinema culture, but in our real life, they’re so elusive. Think of anything else you make a horror movie about; it’s either something you deal with all the time or something that doesn’t exist… Like, there are no zombies. A movie about anything else, it’s there and it’s in our lives and we can touch it and it’s scary but we can make fun of it. Sharks are in our lives but they are absolutely elusive. We never see them, we only hear about them gobbling up tourists on the coast of Hawaii, and the coast of Australia. Everybody – doesn’t matter where you’re from, what language you speak – when you hear that you’re like ‘I’m glad that’s not me, and I’m probably not going to go into the water for a week. Let it simmer and let all the sharks go home’. It’s a common thread through all of humanity. There is no-one who is like ‘I am totally cool with being in the water with a Great White [Shark]’. Every human on earth would be like ‘I don’t wanna do that’, and that is probably the one thing we can all agree on.
Usually, I like to ask people what is next for them, but I don’t know if that is an insensitive question with Covid-19 still being such a big issue, and the arts struggling at the moment. Do you know what’s next for you?
EB: Absolutely! I have a gentleman – or it could be a lady – delivering my cheeseburgers this afternoon, so that’s what’s next for me. I am going to do cheeseburgers for dinner, with maybe some ice cream after [laughs] That’s what’s next. Actually, one thing about the pandemic is, yes, we are not doing a lot of on-camera stuff, but a number of video games. So we have some… I can’t say what they are, but I will say there are some great titles that are going to be coming out in the next few weeks and I am happy to be part of them. I just can’t say what they are.
Interview by Brogen Hayes
DEEP BLUE SEA 3 is released July 28th, 2020 on Digital & August 1st on DVD.