47 METERS DOWN Interview with Matthew Modine and Yani Gellman on Acting, Sharks and Film

Watch the video interview on Youtube here

Film Courage:  Do either of you have any good shark stories that happened before the filming or after?

Matthew Modine:  I don’t have any shark stories, I just have a tremendous respect for sharks.  They’re prehistoric animals, they are beautiful, they have a tremendous importance to the sea, the life of the sea…what’s the word I want?

Yani Gellman:  The ecosystem?

Matthew Modine:  The ecosystem of the ocean and I know that they are quickly becoming extinct because we are killing about a hundred million of them a year for their fins, for soup and for sport.  And so when we think of the predator of the sea, really the biggest predator of the sea is man.

Photo courtesy of Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures

Yani Gellman:  And what’s interesting about this film is that the sharks are not being hunted, it’s the people who are hunted.  I feel that there is a kind of poetic justice to the sea. The sharks and the environment will bite back if we don’t treat it with proper respect.

Film Courage:  There is a scene in the film where the two sisters are 47 meters down and are in a precarious situation and one confesses to the other that they felt competitive [in life as sisters].  Has anyone ever confessed to you that they were competitive with you in regard to an acting career?  And I’m wondering how you took that?  Because it could be a compliment.  But it could also make you competitive.

Matthew Modine:  That’s a good question.

Yani Gellman:  That’s a really good question.

Matthew Modine:  That’s a very good question.  I know that the most successful actors I’ve worked with (I won’t have to name any names) that they can be very friendly and cooperative, and then when they put the clapper and say action, they would step on your throat to beat you in a scene.  And it was so funny to me because the education that I received when I was studying to be an actor is that you play with one another, that you are scene partners.  That if you’re a good tennis player and the person I’m playing against is not very good, what I have to do is improve their game because I’m not going to be able to have a good game and show you what kind of a player I am if the other player can’t hit the ball back to me.  If I’m just smashing the ball and making that person run all over the place, it’s not going to work.  You want to try to make the scene as best as possible.

Yani Gellman:  I’ll name a name.  When we got to set everyone is nervous and excited.  And literally the moment I met Matthew he just put us (and you don’t know what to expect), he just put us all at ease.  And we talked about this, he had this way of making us feel like we were being looked out for and being cared for and that when the camera was on us he would be there for us making sure that we got our best performances out.  But that also when we’re going out into the ocean, we’re doing these scuba diving things and such, someone is actually watching to make sure things are being done safely.  And Matthew just has so much experience and we all just remarked at how much is you, but is actually the character as being the captain in the film, he took the responsibility that we were looked out for and I owe you a tremendous thanks for that because you made our work better.  You really did.

Watch the video interview on Youtube here


Matthew Modine:  Thank you.

Film Courage:  How is a role like this offered to either one of you?  Do you have to audition or do you just get a call one day?

Yani Gellman:  Well, I have to audition…I don’t think Matthew has to audition anymore, especially after all those great films you’ve done but I did a series of auditions.  The final audition was actually a Skype session with the director Johannes and I happened to be in Yosemite at the time with my Mom. And it was a trip we’d been planning for months so I couldn’t bail on it.  So they said we will Skype you in from Yosemite.  So I was there with the mountains in the background just reading these lines and doing scuba stuff and it was the funniest audition I’d ever had and it somehow clicked and worked and the next thing I know I was in the Dominican Republic.

Matthew Modine:  I remember you talking about it.  They sent [me] the script and it’s always flattering for someone to think of you for their film, and send you the script and ask you to participate.  And the reason I wanted to do this one was because my father was a drive-in theater manager and these were the kind of films that my dad really enjoyed playing at the movies because it was such an audience-pleaser, that they loved this kind of movie, like a great summer movie that is filled with all of the elements of a horror film but without the supernatural aspects to it.  I wish my dad were alive to see it because I know he’d really love the movie.

Film Courage:  Great.  Thank you!  Thanks guys!


47 METERS DOWN in Theaters June 16th, 2017







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