With the survival drama Adrift opening in theaters this weekend, I recently sat down with director Baltasar Kormakur to talk about bringing the incredible true story to the screen. If you’re not familiar with the film, Adrift is based on the true story of sailors Tami Oldham (Shailene Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Sam Claflin), who set out on a transpacific journey only to get caught in a massive hurricane and lost adrift at sea. With Richard badly injured and their boat seriously damaged, Tami must work to save both of them from the hardships of the ocean.
During the interview, Kormakur talked about wanting to tell a survival story with a female protagonist, the various challenges of filming on the ocean, why he used non-linear storytelling, what he was willing to do to land cinematographer Robert Richardson, what he learned from test screenings, trying to be honest to what really happened while still making an entertaining movie, and a lot more.
Check out what he had to say in the player above and below is exactly what we talked about followed by the synopsis.
- What is it about extreme situations that he loves telling their stories?
- Why he wanted to tell this story.
- Why did he use non-linear storytelling to tell the story?
- How did he get cinematographer Robert Richardson to shoot the movie?
- Did they ever have a day where he thought this is never going to work?
- What did he learn from test screenings?
- How long was his first cut compared to the finished film and did he have a lot of deleted scenes?
- Talks about balancing what really happened with making an entertaining movie.
Here’s the official synopsis for Adrift:
Starring Shailene Woodley (Fault in Our Stars, Divergent films) and Sam Claflin (Me Before You, The Hunger Games films), ADRIFT is based on the inspiring true story of two free spirits whose chance encounter leads them first to love, and then to the adventure of a lifetime.
As the two avid sailors set out on a journey across the ocean, Tami Oldham (Woodley) and Richard Sharp (Claflin) couldn’t anticipate they would be sailing directly into one of the most catastrophic hurricanes in recorded history. In the aftermath of the storm, Tami awakens to find Richard badly injured and their boat in ruins. With no hope for rescue, Tami must find the strength and determination to save herself and the only man she has ever loved.
ADRIFT is the unforgettable story about the resilience of the human spirit and the transcendent power of love.