Kurt Russell is no stranger to putting himself in harm’s way. He still counts Backdraft as the most difficult movie ever made. Still, there were plenty of close calls in Poseidon as the intense underwater action required Russell to come as close to death as humanly possible.
Kurt Russell Talks Poseidon Filming
“You really have to put your trust in the hands of somebody who’s going to come in there and give you air when you need it,” he explained. “That’s psychologically very hard to do, because we were in [small] rooms and you could see the ceiling and you can see all the walls and the camera’s [blocking] the only way out and you can’t get through camera. Also, the way it’s lit, you couldn’t really see things well underwater. So you’re psychologically kind of fighting yourself because you’re waiting for somebody to come in to give you air.”
By the time Russell would finish portraying the struggling action of his character, it could have been too late for the underwater technicians to bring him an air tank. “You have to pass out… and when you pass out your body relaxes. Then you breathe in water and that kicks you into a second phase, where you actually drown. For just a second it’s sort of mildly euphoric, but it’s very excruciating before that. And then there’s that limbo time where you may be dead or you may not be.”
Even worse than potentially dying would have been if he had gotten almost there, but a scuba diver ruined the shot by bringing him air too quickly. “So I said to this guy, ‘Hey, I’ve got to do this. So when it looks wrong, come in and give me air because I’m not going to cut it. I’m not going to stop it. When it starts to really look wrong, get in there.’ So that’s hard to do. The guy was really cool and we’d been working together for a number of months. I’d kind of been looking at all these guys and picking the guy [to assist me.]”
Poseidon comes to theatres on May 12th 2006.
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