Kevin Macdonald Talks BLACK SEA, Shooting on a Real Submarine, a New Form of 3D and More

     January 21, 2015


As if just delivering a compelling narrative isn’t challenging enough, director Kevin Macdonald also chose to set his latest feature underwater.  Black Sea stars Jude Law as Robinson, a submarine captain who suddenly loses his job at a salvage company.  Desperate for a new gig, Robinson agrees to put together a crew to search for a German U-boat packed with WWII-era gold sitting at the bottom of the Black Sea for a wealthy investor.

With Black Sea scheduled to make its way into select theaters on January 23rd, I got the chance to sit down with Macdonald and talk about the entire process of putting Black Sea together from coming up with the idea to the importance of picking the perfect sound effects for the film.  Here’s what he told me about the factual elements of the script, the many challenges of shooting on a real submarine, managing so many different languages and accents, the new 3D technology he’s working with and more.

black-sea-posterKevin Macdonald:

  • 00:00 – What sparked the desire to make a movie about being trapped underwater.
  • 01:00 – Why he chose someone with a theater background to write the screenplay.
  • 02:13 – How the script changed from draft to draft.
  • 03:11 – How much of the movie is factual.
  • 05:28 – The challenges of making a submarine movie; the unique casting choices.
  • 07:14 – What costs more, building sets or shooting on a real submarine?
  • 08:16 – What they weren’t allowed to do while shooting on the real submarine.
  • 09:29 – Do you build a claustrophobic set that’s exactly like the real sub or take liberties and build one with removable walls?
  • 11:00 – The size of the crew on the sub versus the sound stage.
  • 11:33 – The importance of great sound effects.
  • 12:05 – The primitive sonar technique featured in the film; is it feasible?
  • 13:16 – On a submarine, you’re dependent on the rest of the crew.
  • 13:51 – Ben Mendelsohn’s destructive role in the movie.
  • 14:05 – Working with a cast that speaks different languages and uses a variety of accents.
  • 15:24 – Working with newcomer Bobby Schofield.
  • 16:45 – A new kind of 3D developed by Magic Leap where objects can appear in the room you’re in; the documentary/planetarium/theatrical experience Macdonald is working on using this technology.


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