The Dive : Exclusive Interview with Director Maximilian Erlenwein

The Dive : Exclusive Interview with Director Maximilian Erlenwein

© RLJE Films

Synopsis : A deep-sea diving trip at one of the world’s most remote spots becomes a fight for survival for sisters Drew and May when a catastrophic landslide sends rocks tumbling into the sea. After being struck by the rockfall, May now lies 28 meters below the surface, trapped by debris and unable to move. With dangerously low levels of oxygen, it is up to Drew to fight for her sister’s life. She must put her own life in jeopardy and risk paying the ultimate sacrifice. But with no help in sight, time is quickly running out….

Genre: Mystery & thriller

Original Language: English

Director: Maximilian Erlenwein

Producer: Jonas Katzenstein, Maximilian Leo

Writer: Maximilian Erlenwein, Joachim Hedén

Release Date (Theaters):  Limited

Box Office (Gross USA): $4.4K


Distributor: RLJE Films

Production Co: Logical Pictures, Film- und Medienstiftung NRW, MFG Film, Falkun Films, Protagonist Pictures, Augenschein Filmproduktion, Filmförderung Hamburg Schleswig-Holstein, Logical Content Ventures

Exclusive Interview with Director Maximilian Erlenwein


Q: This film is a remake of “Breaking Surface,” a Swedish movie. What element of that film struck a cord with you so much so that it made you decide to tackle this film?

Maximilian Erienwein: I used to do a lot of diving when I was younger. When I got the screenplay of the original film, my first response was to not do it because why would I do a remake of an already great flm? But then, you have to play the cards that you are dealt and I loved having the opportunity to shoot a film in this whole underwater world. It was just something I couldn’t decline. I had to do it. It felt like it was the right choice to spend two years in the making.

Q: Talk about the casting of Louisa Krause and Sophie Lowe? Did the actresses have diving experience because they really embody their characters’ skills

Maximilian Erienwein: No, we actually we couldn’t find any actresses who could really dive. We had to find actresses who were willing to do it from scratch. So we trained them a few months before shooting. We really wanted the authenticity of filming everything as real as possible. We filmed the entire process of diving from the putting on of the masks to the changing of the oxygen tanks, etc.  They had to become really experienced and I could not stress how difficult it was to act underwater in those masks. They really gained a passion for it.

Q: How were you able to keep your actors calm while underwater?

Maximilian Erienwein: The beauty of diving is that when you get more experienced, you start to get less excited and you get calmer and calmer. I think the real beauty was to balance that calmness with building the suspense of the storyline.

© RLJE Films

Q: What kind of special equipment was used to accomplish these fascinating underwater shots?

Maximilian Erienwein: The cameras are in underwater cases which are really sophisticated and complicated. Then you have a very big cable that goes to the surface and to the monitor. It was a very big technical challenge. We employed the best cameras for the job. No expense was spared. We started with big dive boats but soon realized that we had to make things simpler and react quicker to the unpredictable weather. In the end, we were doing it all from small dinghies which gave us the flexibility to quickly change locations.

Q: Did you do any kind of research on divers’ real life experiences when they were trapped underwater? 

Maximilian Erienwein: We didn’t try to duplicate any particular situation but I watched every documentary I could think of. Our whole crew were from Malta and they were all into freediving. So they contributed their experiences in dealing with the open sea. It was interesting to explore what the human body is capable of, how long you can survive and what is actually possible. The concept was to make it as accurate and realistic as possible so that you have the feeling this could actually happen. We tried to make the film as accurate as possible within our capability.

Q: What made you decide to film in Malta?

Maximilian Erienwein: We didn’t have the budget to separate the underwater stuff from the shore stuff so we decided on Malta because we knew we could accomplish shooting both in the time that we had. Malta has an underwater film industry filled with highly trained people who do it for a living. We also scouted a little bit in Majorca, in Greece and neighboring locales. Malta provided all the necessary elements for filming the great, vast scenery on land and underwater. It was just a perfect fit.

© RLJE Films

Q: You said you had diving experience beforehand, did you incorporate any of your personal experience into this film?

Maximilian Erienwein: I love diving so I didn’t want to induce a fear of diving through this film. I actually want to promote diving, I wanted to make a film that could put the audience on the edge of their seat yet portray the meditative nature of diving which influenced me to shoot many stream-of-consciousness scenes underwater.

Q: What do you want the audience to take away from this movie?

Maximilian Erienwein: I hope that they have an emotional edge of your seat experience with this survival thriller. I hope these 90 minutes will shine a light on the sisterhood between the characters and show how they can grow together and overcome adversity.

© RLJE Films

Check out more of Nobuhiro’s articles. 

Here’s the trailer of the film. 
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