In her quest to overcome a ravenous shark in The Shallows, Blake Lively has to go it alone. As an actress, filling the frame without another thespian to play off can be a thankless task. Ahead of agreeing to take the role of Nancy Adams, Blake Lively admitted to me during my discussion with her earlier this week about The Shallows that she was, rather handily, able to ask her husband Ryan Reynolds for advice, as he took a very similar role in Buried.
As you'd expect, Ryan Reynolds had some rather impressive advice for Blake Lively, making it very clear that while she'd have to make the usual preparations regarding her portrayal she also had to prepare like an athlete. Blake Lively explained to me:
[Ryan Reynolds] actually read the script before me and it was one of those decisions of, 'Am I ready right now to be on a movie like this that will be so demanding of me emotionally but also physically?' Something that he said that really helped me prepare was, 'If you decide to do this, just remember that this is an athletic event. So, think of the emotionality of the character, all the work that you have to do, but when you step onto the set every day you are in an athletic tournament.'
And I'm really glad that he said that, because otherwise, I would have probably got beaten up by the elements and all that was demanded of me physically. But because I prepared for it like an athlete, it was just a part of the role, and normally it's not part of the role as an actor.
It's hardly surprising that Blake Lively had to spend an extra amount of time in the gym to prepare for her work on The Shallows, because it not only involves her having to swan around the ocean on a surf board doing some totally rad and bodacious maneuvers, but she also had to swim furiously away from an onrushing and rather peckish shark anytime that she dropped back into the water from the haven of her rock, too.
There are actually a number of very impressive, physically arduous scenes that Blake Lively performs in The Shallows that she clearly had to train and get in peak physical shape for. If she'd looked even slightly feeble or flabby -- something that any photo of Blake Lively proves was inconceivable -- then The Shallows wouldn't have worked.
Blake Lively's performance is one of several reasons why The Shallows works, and turned out to be a rather splendid and enjoyable summer blockbuster. You can read my review for The Shallows here, and watch a snippet from my interview with Blake Lively, below.
The Shallows is now in cinemas across the US, and those of you looking for a film that's Gravity meets Jaws - but not quite as sensational as that sounds - should go and check it out.