I love being at the beach. The sound and visuals of the waves are calming. The wind through the sand is soothing. Everyone around you has smiles under their shades (after they’ve found a parking space). But I don’t want to go too far from shore. It’s not just sharks, it’s undercurrents, coral, jellyfish, a whole universe of creatures and unpredictable movements. And if you’re far from shore, to me, it’s too isolating to comprehend. There’s infinity below—and in every direction—once the shore his disappeared.
The tense setup for the new thriller, The Shallows, is that a surfer (Blake Lively) is attacked by a shark close enough to shore that she has hope to escape, but is far enough from land that she’ll really have to use her wits to escape the angry Great White whose feeding ground she accidentally entered. And the extra troubles that she encounters underwater are more than the shark. So, yeah, scary stuff.
Lively pretty much has the movie to herself, sharing a few small scenes with local surfers at a “secret beach” in Mexico. As someone who’s appeared on a lot of shortlists for various high profile movies, The Shallows could potentially be her calling card to snag on of those prestige pictures that’s eluded her. She’s very good. The role is trickier than just being in pain. She has to be hopeful that she can survive, but also convey the hopelessness that most of us would feel after hours and hours on a rock being circled a shark.
Recently, I got to sit down with Lively to talk about sharks, fears of the ocean, and her scene-stealing co-star a seagull named “Steven.” Yep, that’d be a Steven Seagal joke. Check out all her answers in the video above.
The Shallows opens in theaters this Friday, June 24, and expands nationwide on Wednesday, June 29.