"Life Aquatic" Director on Cousteau, Sea Life

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The first day of filming, we went out to an island and were stranded there for three days because of high seas. Everybody got sick. It was an insane way to begin, but it turned out to be good. It was a beautiful, amazing place, and we were able to improvise some good material.

Did Any Lord of the Flies stuff go on? Was there a conch shell?

No, there was a megaphone. And I had the megaphone.

Were the actors comfortable filming underwater?

Willem Dafoe was the only one with diving experience. But since we filmed the underwater scenes last, everyone else was able to train throughout the six months of shooting. Also those scenes all took place in a tank where we'd constructed an undersea forest. So there wasn't any open-water filming.

There's a lot of underwater animation in this movie.

Whenever you make a film, you never know how it is going to turn out at the end. You just take a lot of different elements and shake them together and see what results. Our animator used an old stop-motion technique that we were pretty excited about. And it turned out great.

Some explorers look at the ocean as the last frontier. Others go skyward. Should we look for Bill Murray in a space suit?

That's a funny image, but no. I think I'll do something in India next. But I'm still not sure what.

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