Dive-in Behind the Scenes
Fool's Gold, Warner Brothers' latest release to hit the theaters, starring Matthew McConaughey and Kate Hudson, combines adventure, comedy, romance and sunken treasure...all in a Caribbean paradise. Or is it?
Traveled scuba divers may notice the subtle clues that all is not what it seems in this Caribbean paradise. But the average movie-goer isn't going to notice that the majority of the underwater scenes in this film were actually shot on location in Australia's Great Barrier Reef. And while it's well-known in the scuba diving community as one of the most desirable dive locations in the world, here it serves as a mere stand-in for the headliner act -- the Caribbean! But, hey, that's Hollywood!
The filmmakers did their research and came up with several locations in Australia that could be passed off as prime Caribbean treasure-hunting locales, and included Port Douglas, Lizard Island, Whitsundays and the Gold Coast. And it had to have been a tough decision for Hudson and McConaughey to commit to a grueling six months of filming under such harsh conditions like, fun, sun, diving, great Australian food and kicking back with the locals...but somebody had to do it.
To the casual observer, Hollywood always makes it look easier than it actually is. In fact, both McConaughey and Hudson were trained and certified during the filming by Dive Master Tye Zinck of Marine Team, Ltd. Hudson --who had never dived beforereceived her open water certification and McConaughey--already certified--received his advanced open water certification. As on any movie set, safety is a paramount concern and this set wasn't any different. So even though both actors were certified divers, there were always trained dive professionals both above and below during the filming.
Hudson obviously enjoyed the process but admitted, "I thought it was going to be easier than it was. When I had my first real dive, I was terrified to get into the water, but the marine crew and all the dive masters were amazing. And once you get down there, it's just incredible. I mean, to be able to do my first dive on the Great Barrier Reef is mind-blowing. Now I'm in love with diving; I can't wait to get back in the water."
While the beauty of the underwater scenery made for an amazing backdrop, Mother Nature turned out to be a little temperamental during the shooting and filmmakers constructed an underwater "tank" for certain shots. The resulting dimensions of the tank were 140 feet long and 100 feet wide, with a minimum depth of 16 feet and a maximum depth of 21 feet. The holding capacity ended up at 7.2 million liters of water, making it, by production designer Charles Wood's estimation "the largest tank in the southern hemisphere and one of the largest in the world."
Director/screenwriter Andy Tennant trusted Wood to orchestrate the tank scenes to form a seamless transition from the rest of the scenes. "Having the tank was amazing," states Tennant. "One day, we shot the sunken boat at the bottom of the tank. Then we went away and came back and there was an entirely different set ready to go. Then the actors got in and I got in and we all got to play under water," he smiles.
For more on diving in
Australia, check out dive sites and the article "The Big One: Driving and Diving Australia's Great Barrier Reef" by Sport Diver's Tom Morrisey. For more information on becoming a PADI certified diver click on the link here. For more on Fool's Gold, the movie - click here.