“I got a little chewed up,” says the Yellowknife-born Dustin Milligan.
“We went blind, literally,” adds co-star Sara Paxton. “It was pretty bad, but my retina has healed.”
The pair are laughingly describing the rope burn and chlorine damage they suffered doing some of the stunts in the film, but that, they say, wasn’t the craziest part of making the shark attack movie in the middle of nowhere.
“We were literally in Deliverance town,” says Sara. “We were shooting in a place called Uncertain, Texas, population ten. There were the houses on the bayou on the stilts. It was straight up True Blood.”
“There were some locals that definitely reminded you of how remote it was,” adds Dustin.
“They were super nice though,” says Sara.
Not as nice were the other indigenous life forms of the area.
“There were twelve foot alligators, there were water moccasins, crazy fish with big teeth and snapping turtles,” Sara says
“It was definitely a scary experience,” Dustin says, “and then the sharks themselves were terrifying but there’s all kinds of stuff in the water. And it was dirty water too.
“Really dirty,” chimes in Sara. “I just didn’t want to get bitten by anything. We had ex Navy Seals as our stunt guys and they would go out on Wave Runners and clear out the area beforehand. They’d swirl the water around and make noise. ‘It’s fine. It’s fine. We checked the water.’ Then Alyssa was in the water and asked, ‘Why did that log blink?’”
Least threatening of all were the mechanical sharks.
“There were a couple of guys with remote controls working them, but they had real shark’s teeth in them,” said Sara.
“One of my favorite things to do,” says Dustin, “was to watch the team with the remote controls. There’s three guys; one person working the tail and the body, one person working the head up and down and one guy working the jaw specifically. And the guy doing the jaw work was always snarling, moving his jaw with it. It’s a testament to the quality of the shark work that went into this. Even behind the scenes these guys were living the life of a shark while they were trying to eat us.”