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The quintessential summer movie arrives this week in the form of the 70-foot shark-led The Meg. The action/horror film from director Jon Turteltaub, explores the fantastical danger the prehistoric Megalodon could pose in the modern ocean. The Megalodon is likely difficult to train and has been extinct for millions of years so naturally the shark is created with CGI in the film. However, although the shark wasn't real so there wasn't any danger of being eaten, there were some real scares while filming The Meg. Actress Ruby Rose, who plays the character Jaxx, nearly drowned on the set of the film while filming a scene in the water, as she explained:
It was a scene in which I'm in the water and have to swim back to a boat. My clothing, including a layer of thermals to help with the cold, made it really difficult to swim. Everyone loved how it looked and thought I was doing a great job, (but) they didn't realize my shoes had filled up with water and were making me sink to the bottom of the tank we were shooting in. The next thing I know, safety divers were grabbing me. I drank a lot of tank water, which I have a feeling is not particularly good for you.
Well, that is fairly terrifying. There is little worse than feeling helpless or unable to breathe. At first, they must have thought that she was simply struggling as part of her performance and was doing a great job at it, before realizing that she was in real trouble. Fortunately, the production naturally had safety divers on standby for just such an occasion that were able to rescue Ruby Rose and pull her to safety. As she told SciFiNow (via Daily Mail), the weight of her layers of clothes and waterlogged shoes became too much and was pulling her down in the water tank she was shooting in. As anyone who's ever swam in clothes or taken drownproofing in school can tell you, swimming in clothes is not a pleasant or easy.
Ruby Rose isn't even the only actress on The Meg to have had a frightening experience in the water. Her co-star Li Bingbing also felt like she was going to drown while filming a sequence where she had to hold her breath in a shark cage. These examples just highlight the very real dangers that shooting in water pose. There are a lot of safeguards in place to prevent problems and avert disaster, and thankfully they worked here. But even in a responsible production like this, filming scenes in water or under it can be genuinely scary. You might know that you are in a controlled environment and that there are safety measures, but I imagine that your survival instincts involuntarily kick in anyways. Because although your brain knows you'll be okay, your body doesn't. These difficulties and dangers make movies that do a lot of shooting in the water, like The Meg or whatever James Cameron is doing in Avatar 2, all the more impressive.
After her role in The Meg, Ruby Rose has been cast as Batwoman for The CW's Arrow-verse crossover event, with the possibility of a Batwoman series coming to the network. The Meg splashes into theaters this Friday, August 10. For all of the biggest movies hitting theaters this year, check out our release schedule.