Thursday, January 13, 2011

RIP: Peter Yates, Director of "The Deep"

The four-time Academy Award nominee passed away at his home in England last weekend.

He was 81 years young.

British director Peter Yates literally submerged himself in his work when he was making the movie blockbuster “The Deep” in Bermuda in the summer of 1976.

The man who described himself as a “barely passable swimmer” before production began on the adaptation of Peter Benchley’s thriller about vacationers who stumble upon two hidden treasures on Bermuda’s reefs — Spanish gold and World War Two-era morphine — ended up diving more than 600 times during the course of the shoot.


Released in the summer of 1977 — and the second highest-grossing film of that year after “Star Wars” –”The Deep” was successfully marketed as a follow-up of sorts to Steven Spielberg’s phenomenally successful 1975 adaptation of Mr. Benchley’s “Jaws.”


The film was shot on location in Bermuda and in the British Virgin Islands.

“I thought I could sit topside on a boat watching television monitors of what the camera was shooting below,” said Mr. Yates (pictured at left) in an interview at the time of the film’s release. “This is one picture made out of total ignorance.

“We took it for granted that we’d all do a little diving. But none of my cast had ever done any scuba diving before.

“I expected to use doubles a great deal more than I did. The more my cast dived, the more they wanted to do the dangerous work themselves.

“Robert Shaw was the first to volunteer to do his own diving. Then Nolte and Jacqueline really threw themselves into the spirit of the thing.

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