The 2020 film "Underwater" takes place in 2050 in a drilling facility at the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the deepest known spot in the ocean. It's about seven miles under the sea and subject to intense pressure, and in the film, unknown creatures threaten the lives of the crew who work there. The escape pods are gone, people are dying, and the survivors have to walk along the ocean floor to get to safety if there is any to be found.

William Eubank directed the film, and joining star Kristen Stewart in the cast are Vincent Cassel, Jessica Henwick, John Gallagher Jr., Mamoudou Athie, and T.J. Miller. The production obviously didn't film in the actual Mariana Trench, but it was a rough shoot for the cast and crew nonetheless. Stewart spoke to the Toronto Sun back in January 2020, saying that she had a "horrible" time while making "Underwater." Stewart is often very frank about her experiences on set in interviews, and this one was no different. In fact, she said that shooting the film almost killed her.

'I Almost Died Making This Movie'

In the interview, Stewart said:

"It was horrible. It was one of the worst things I've experienced in my life … You're usually not super encouraged to talk about that because you don't want to imply that watching the movie will also be a horrendous experience. But I think in this case I can say that I almost died making this movie."

That is a pretty brutal quote about shooting something, though it certainly hasn't hurt Stewart's career. Her recent turn in Pablo Larraín's 2021 film "Spencer," where she played the late Diana, Princess of Wales, got her nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. Part of the issue with "Underwater" was likely her fear of the water, which I spoke to her about for SYFY at the premiere of the film. Back then, she told me:

"I'm really scared of the water. I've never done anything that I thought was going to be super easy or comfy, so it makes sense that I chose this, but in a literal sense, it's ridiculous that I did this movie … No, like really ridiculous. It was not fun. I hated it. Like, I would usually not be allowed to say that, because you're like, 'Oh no, highlight the good parts, at least.' It's a horror movie. I hated it. It was awful. It was really hard. I was scared the whole time."

To be fair to Stewart, she was laughing the whole time she was saying this, so she certainly had a great attitude about her experience.

' … She Really Took It As A Challenge'

Even the director told me about how hard she worked, saying, "She actually really doesn't like water. Doesn't like underwater, so she really took it as a challenge to get into this thing and do these underwater scenes, and really push herself to a wild place that I think comes off on screen."

Stewart wasn't the only person on the shoot to speak about how difficult it was. Recalling the experience of donning the heavy underwater suits, Henwick told me, " […] it weighed more than half of my body weight […] we looked like a conveyer belt of Buzz Lightyears." She also said that the cast "started to have physical ailments from the suits."

Gallagher said something similar, explaining that they had to wear the suits for about 80 percent of the shoot. "They were brutal," he said. "I've kind of made peace with it in retrospect, but there were days where it was like — I remember the car ride to the set, just dreading, knowing I was going to have to get into this big giant suit and walk around in it."

It sounds like it was a rough production, but the end result ended up being a whole lot of fun. It didn't set the box office on fire, but "Underwater" was scary as hell for the audience as well.

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