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Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Under Pressure: The Making of The Abyss Documentary - Bajo Presión: Documental de Cómo se hizo Abyss

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I'm James Cameron and I want to take you

into a world of cold darkness and

unrelenting pressure the movie business

if I couldn't do what mm want to space

out as he did for science fiction films

taking place in space if I didn't feel

that I could do that in the underwater

arena that I didn't want to make the

movie I don't think there will ever be a

film certainly before the end of this

century as much of a challenge as the

abyss was not only technologically but

also physically and emotionally on all

of us involved with it it is 1988

filmmakers technicians and professional

divers have all come together for a

project that will come to be known as

the toughest shoot in film history


the abyss a science fiction epic

dedicated to the powers of the human


a love story played out against the

tremendous depths of the ocean and the

wondrous mysteries they contain nobody

really knew how to do a lot of the

things that were they are on paper and I

think they probably thought we would

like in some wizard-like fashion do some

special effects and just fit would all

be models or something you know but I

you know I was pretty clear from the

beginning I said I want to do as much of

this real for real as we can I want to

use real submersibles I want to use real

RVs I've done a lot of research about

how these things operate it looked like

it was going to be possible that was

daunting to the studio they were not

appropriate dive helmets that would work

for our actors a tank did not exist at

the time in which the phone could be

shot this was a far grander venture than

they had originally intended Gaffney

South Carolina the production discovers

an unlikely location for a tank facility

in the steel and concrete ruins of an

abandoned nuclear power project an

unfinished turbine pit is pressed into

service as the production smaller tank B

tank perhaps you know is 210 feet long

20 feet deep and offered a lot of

possibilities but not deep enough to do

the the main shots required while

touring the site it is the monolithic

structure at the heart of the facility

that captures Cameron's attention a

structure so huge it had not even been

suggested as a viable option the main

reactor containment vessel

was it the big empty concrete building

with walls eight feet thick you know

designed to withstand I don't know what

the next World War biggest earthquake

you know that the specs for for the

nuclear industry are extremely

conservative so we knew it would hold

the kind of water that we wanted

Engineers confirmed that a tank will

support the weight of seven and a half

million gallons Cameron has found his

abyss the whole film by and large

centers on this huge underwater habitat

for oil oil drilling on the bottom of

the oceans and Jim wanted it to be what

we call ambient diving or we're in the

air pressure inside is it matches the

water pressure outside so that easy

access through moon pools and hatches in

the floor so we just said okay these are

certain elements of an oil rig these are

elements of a hyperbaric environment you

know these these underwater habitats we

just put them together we just merged

them and made what I think is a pretty

plausible looking submersible oil rate

deep core will become the largest

underwater set ever built to survive the

thousands of tons of water that will

eventually surround it the set requires

tremendous strength and weight and

workers craft it together from pieces of

solid steel completed sections weigh

upwards of 40 tons and are lifted into

place with the aid of a giant crane

Engineering on such a massive scale is

rare for film productions but when the

alternative would require building the

same set to function in the open see the

logic behind a tank becomes obvious

August 3rd

the cast arrives in Gaffney fresh from

an advanced scuba certification course

in the Caribbean Edie Harris joins them

here having learned how to dive on the

location of his last film but with the

exception of Captain Kidd Brewer a

seasoned professional the cast has

absolutely no prior experience in the

far more advanced and potentially

dangerous process of hardhat diving the

helmets and backpacks are new designs

constructed for the film by the top

designer is a professional use dive gear

under the watchful eyes of al Gittings

and staff the cast spends two weeks

training on this new equipment the cast

must exhibit complete mastery of hardhat

diving which one crew member describes

as like living inside a bowling ball but

despite the intense training arrangement

and the necessity for repeated bailout

drills it is also a time of playful

experimentation and joy


I was always very excited and when I got

a chance to put the helmet the equipment

on and go underwater and I never really

thought of that as work to me it was a

an experience like a lot of people won't

ever have there's something about being

down there with these weights on you

kind of feel like the guys on the moon

you know within a week or so it was like

they were like every other commercial

diver I've ever been around you know and

we're working with full-size

submersibles and diver propulsion

vehicles and every kind of toy known to

man and it's pretty psychedelic it was

sort of like the glede and soldiers

young soldiers have before they go to

war you know they got all their

equipment they're special and we knew we

were special


Monday August 8 was to mark the start of

principal photography but when that day

arrives a tank is far from ready we

realized from the beginning that it was

going to be difficult what we didn't

realize was that it was actually going

to be impossible impossible in the sense

that we never really got things under

control we were always in a position of

being behind the eight-ball production

will start in B tank which means

construction crews have one week to

finish the interior sets of direct

nuclear submarine the two working

submersibles flatbed and cab one will

also shoot in the small tank and undergo

final lighting and operational tests

since the B tank sets were not slated to

work until mid-september crews must work

day and night to meet the new deadline


on the first day of shooting Jim looks

at us and says hello boys welcome to my

nightmare going over the wall coming to

bearing zero six five and that's a cut

looking into that submarine set which is

the first set we went into with all the

paper flying around all these really

closed walls and slanted wall is like

going in some house weird strange

serious fun house the first couple of

days like we were like the Keystone Cops

down there we weren't used to being

underwater and the weights that we had

on us and it was very tight so we were

kind of bouncing off of each other and

screaming each other's total chaos and

and everybody was kind of a little

freaked I'm gonna be getting up out of

there and going then we won't be here a

long time

cuz this is not gonna be on schedule I

guarantee you then you know our first

few days of shooting in beating they

hadn't quite stabilized the pH of the

water the water was getting a little

misty couldn't shoot very well on it so

a little bit more chlorine was being put

in to the tank which was fine except for

everybody who was not wearing a helmet

they were getting a free dye job we

would see all these people starting to

look like Troy Donahue you know just

like all these guys I thought ride out

of here the attack of the underwater

Troy nineties everybody got their hair

bleached white and the hair fell off our

arms and we all got chlorine burns and

it was borderline and kind of having to

go to the hospital we were always in the

helmets most of the time so we weren't

having that problem but we saw was going

on we were all waiting for our suits to

start corroding and we wound up having

to grease up with Vaseline from head to

foot like a bunch of channel swimmers

and keep working to of course because we

were making a movie and we did have to

you know get the shots done but it was

just hell and that's how we started and

then it got worse the acting challenge

which was negligible because it was

really going to water and be scared but

it was not difficult to pretend to be

frightened because you were frightened

the biggest problem that we encountered

early on was that sense of panic was

that sense of being on the brink of

panic relying on equipment which is an

actor you normally don't have to accept

as a properties were not crops these

were life support

oh yeah I loved I loved to being in the

world I can't stand being up here but JC

JC Quinn I hated diving the most I don't

know if it was claustrophobia if it was

whatever but he hated it he was

petrified yeah I took off all my clothes

on the set one night and said to the

production managers stick to roll up

your ass you know I'm not doing this you

know I was ready to boogie out of there

I went at one point I went into Galen

heards office and I said I want my name

off the credits I want you to fire me

all that I know and a lot of it had to

do with being underwater my own fears

that I had to deal with it was a lot of

it's very interesting to watch people

kind of running up against a wall of

what they've done before and pushing

through it and come away with this sense

of yourself that's greater and then as

soon as we finished filming what the

hell did I go and do I went to Belize by

myself to scuba dive and then you know

after a while we got pretty good down

there I mean you know I'm really proud a

lot of stuff I did down there cuz I did

some some not easy thing eternity it's

hard to run underwater and it's hard to

pull yourself long dive down you know

it's really some of that physical stuff

was really fun in the suits

I really enjoyed a lot of that August


despite non-stop construction deep core

still isn't ready the production decides

to start filling the tank anyway a tank

and B tank combined will draw nearly 11

million gallons untreated water from the

nearby lake he didn't filtered to a

strict level of clarity by processing

plants installed for the production it

takes five days to fill the tank to

capacity last-minute construction stays

just ahead of the rising water

three times the volume of B tank a tank

will be the true test of Cameron's

vision for underwater filmmaking it will

push cast and crew to the limits of

their ability and beyond

there was always you won't believe

what's gonna show up today

you know the tarp you know that's as big

as Kentucky and it showed up it was as

big as Kentucky and then 7-billion

penalty protein beads would show up it

was like the secret cash of Ronald

Reagan's jelly beans you know that's

what showed up in these trucks it's not

a natural body of water it's a tank and

the very stillness created an almost

mirror surface so we literally saw

ourselves reflected in a giant 200 foot

diameter mirror so the beads were poured

into the water to break that surface

reflection and turn it into blackness

and also we used beads instead of

something laying in the water because of

the safety factor we had to be able to

surface at any moment if we had a

problem especially diving with actors

what once was beautiful

you know this water we just covered this

thick in these horrific little black

beads that all of us I'm sure have

somewhere tucked deep in the folds of

our body still to this day usually

underwater movies are lit from the

surface but this is supposedly 2,000

feet under the surface so it's pitch

black and with the size of the sets we

had to actually light a huge set

exterior of the deep core and and just

lighting that has been an incredible

challenge you know all my life I was

told like don't stand in a puddle of

water turn align on cuz you get

electrocuted they were really able to

take these huge lights underwater and

light completely in the water and I

didn't understand

but the toughest element is trying to

bring that many technicians and artists

together in this medium 800 times denser

than air where for the most part you

don't have verbal communication

underwater on film for theatrical motion

picture the history of the world I think

Jim wanted to get a system which would

give him as close to an approximation of

normal shooting environment underwater

which is not a small order a reference

point is needed to match sound and

picture underwater the process is

somewhat less dignified you're doing

your death scene your love scene

whatever they have to smash the clapper

on the bottom of the helmet don't like

this and then there's a moment of pause

while everyone gets it together again

and then we can get back to work and

everything needs to be two ways so it

becomes kind of a combination of dialer

recording and communication at the same

time up to eight actors in a scene all

wearing helmets I could speak to them

individually and I was also in contact

with a number of other departments

topside at the same time my first ad Jim

check your air for me William

the electrical department I could speak

to the people that were operating the

submersibles basically no one says

anything unless they're attached to a

wire and every wire leads here we have

miles of cable out there literally all

the divers who are working in the water

only here Jim through the underwater PA

speakers they speak back to him either

through hand signals reading lips but

it's a one-way system down there I have

to do both sides of the conversation the

conversation goes okay al what's your

stop two eight no three five you know I

do I do they need everything all the

answers signal from Jim's talk and then

you got the

anyone in a helmet makes that sound if

they stop making that sound we worry the

respirator noise is so universally

despised in fact that sound effects

editors will remove it from the film

entirely to preserve the original

dialogue plus abrasive sound lights and

communications are only part of

Cameron's underwater sound stage the sea

wasp designed by Mike Cameron functions

much like a crane dolly would in a dry

environment the airtight camera housings

are fitted with tiny video tabs which

send their signals topside to be

recorded then down to Cameron's

underwater monitor for observation it's

a degree of sophistication that tends to

offset all of the things that are

working against you because underwater

everything is against you communications

against you Safety's against you you

need that ability to control the frame

and to control the lighting there's no

such thing as an easy shot underwater

of course I've always felt there's no

such thing as an easy shot but

underwater multiply that by a thousand

the standard procedure in underwater

photography is to really talk the shot

at the surface down to where everybody's

going what everybody's doing

he wanted to give me give me a

five-minute head start we do a lineup

with the actress who reverses and then

you see exactly where you want to place

your lights and you start setting the

light if you try to anticipate all these

things at the surface it tends to

simplify the shot for setups and wide

shots using doubles keeps the cast

topside and dry until they're absolutely

needed this is especially important for

scenes like this one where Mary

Elizabeth must work without her


safety paramount importance safety at

all times not only for the people who

are doing dangerous gags on camera all

the time but also just the crew we have

a large number of people in the water on

a daily basis day in and day out and the

routine lulls you into a sense of



especially watchful of people in that

situation where we've been in a routine

for a long time

because that's when you get bit that's

when you know something's going to

happen out of nowhere I'll just jump

down jump down 22 feets like flying

and as I'm jumping I have to equal it

well instead of grabbing the side of my

helmet and doing this I grabbed this pin

just blows off my head and presumably

you should be able to you know get up to

the surface but the one thing we all

found out was that the helmet was

hardwired to you the helmet weighs about

thirty or forty pounds and when it loses

its bubble of air it that's a weight

that's an anchor so I'm going back

pedaling like this trying to grab on to

my spare air and I'm back balanced but

it comes like a Houdini trick because

you can't see you once you take the

helmet off your eyes can't focus

underwater and you have to remove all

your equipment by feel and hope that

somebody gets to you in time or that you

get all the stuff off and that's what

happened to Leo but your safety divers

came and they just stuck a regulator in

his mouth and he was fine that's when

all the scuba stuff came in handy

because when there was a rescue

situation the rescue would be in scuba

terms not in futuristic abyss terms so I

got up to the top and I wasn't really

scared as much as I was ticked off the

thing about the abyss and the reason why

we always felt so safe down there was

because we had what we call like our

safety divers and they were just always

looking for us if we got hung up on

something they'd swim right in and

unhook us or if we had a problem with

their breathing apparatus they'd swim

right down and give you their octopus

and everything and they were so like two

of them for every actor they were like

angels man they were saviors because

they they knew what we were what we were

going through and yet they were really

patient they were very understanding

really cared about us and the project

and each other guys with heart

Cameron's quest to shoot real for real

produces some of the most unique

underwater imagery in the history of

motion pictures in many instances real

for real just isn't possible when this

scene is shot mary-elizabeth is reacting

to objects which simply did not exist

except his illustrations later she will

perform in an even greater vacuum the

harsh emptiness of an underwater

green tank with the story of the film so

dependent on the success of its

illusions the cast will face this

classic dilemma both in and out of the


especially the pseudopod it was like


the effects no matter how good they are

are only believed by the audience if the

characters in the scene appear to be

believing the effects okay but the

actors are not have nothing to respond

to they have nothing to work with

there's either nothing there or

something there that creates an eyeline

for them or a position that may be kind

of goofy and off-putting it's like a a

ventilation hose or something that the

crew carried around a dirty thing and

the cruise is going like this we're

going this is amazing I've never seen

anything like this when it actually

looked like something out of the trash

from behind the studio or something you

know it was wild it was required our

team ultimately Industrial Light and

Magic pioneers new software and

techniques to realize the sequence for

the big screen

in just a few years these developments

will revolutionize the entire effects


for the pseudopod to mimic their faces

Edie and Mary Elizabeth must perform in

front of a special laser scanning device

cameron directs their expressions which

are recorded as three-dimensional data

for later manipulation the results are

incredibly successful it's one of those

situations where once you see behind the

scenes how the stuff is done you have

even more respect for the actors because

anybody could stand there with their jaw

dropping open for what the final

animation looks like but you know they

you know they were standing there with

their jaws dropping open for a piece of

rubber hose creating the alien

technology is one challenge creating the

aliens themselves is another it's fine

to visualize something that's that's

transparent bioluminescent and moves

with with utter and complete grace and

throws out shafts of light and all that

sort of thing but when you have to

actually make it function underwater

it's you know it's a whole other story I

mean water basically just adds a level

of difficulty to any human endeavor no

matter what it is so needless to say

like everything else it made the

operating of the nti puppets you know

much more difficult water or its absence

will affect every technique utilized for

the abyss one in-house crew works with

complex submersible miniatures of the

film's various hardware but while this

went for wet approach creates an

undeniable sense of realism at times it

can be incredibly on

other shots are accomplished with an

elaborate motion control ring which

moves the subs across a smoke-filled

stage to simulate a water environment

this highly controlled process receives

an added touch of life from the cast who

perform scenes for the projectors

mounted inside the tiny subs with all

elements assembled and working the

result is a convincing mix of fantasy

and reality

throughout the abyss only one crew will

actually brave the reality of the open

ocean a 41 foot benthic Explorer

miniature that even had to be licensed

by the coastguard it was so large but as

violent weather repeatedly threatens to

sink irreplaceable miniatures the

production quickly learns to appreciate

the relative safety of its controlled

tank environments that is until

September 10th from the daily production

report rupture in a tank stopped but

unable to repair 1/2 filtration system

inoperable burst in the distribution

ring 2 more filters inoperable the

plumbing situation it turned out that

the pipes that were installed in a

system that was always going to be

pressurized for filtration were

non-pressurized if they had blown the

entire tank would have emptied out and

every day the odds got greater that that

would happen

September 14th filtration 50% heating

50% we'd propose some scenes on the call

sheet you know we come in the next

morning and find out that this pipe had

broken that water was was the the you

know wrong visibility and nothing that

was planned could be shot in a scenario

like that you can't let the actors caper

off to to New York for a couple of days

even though they're not on the schedule

you got to keep everybody close so that

you can do something when it breaks down

which it did every day they had nothing

to do but wait your fate is not in your

hands your fate rests in the production

it rests in in natural elements it rests

and in things over which they had no


you get there and you sit for seven

hours before you did anything he was

just it was kind of like a siege

mentality you just had to always be

there you never would really know you

know what exactly was happening flatbeds

leakin and Kimberly was out

so can't believe you're a diver what's

the problem we were literally in the

unknown solving engineering problems on

a daily basis so that we could keep

shooting and it was very very hard on

the production staff to try to plan you

know you'd plan a shot you know it's

like like they say you know man proposes

and God disposes Jim can we go off the

PA please oh we've got very very loud

thunderclaps we've got lightning my gut

reaction is to did everybody the hell

out of the water the wind and

thunderstorms of early autumn create yet

another problem stress on the giant tarp

it was like what could possibly happen

we basically had every disaster that can

happen and as I was walking back up the

steps from looking at the at the water

clarity and trying to decide what scene

I could possibly shoot that day I walked

up in time to watch the tarp rip open

from side to side 200 feet across and

sunlight blazed into the set and I just

kind of fatalistically said I guess

we're on nights now guys

so we're literally down there at 4

o'clock in the morning 5 o'clock doing

scenes with plastic-covered script pages

so we could the following nights are

long and cold fatigue is an ever-present

danger of fact no one can appreciate

more fully than al getting's experienced

safety crew guys fell asleep and started

nod off two in the morning with a

regulator in their mouth you know ten

feet down nothing dangerous but without

the kind of commitment the cast and crew


and without Jim's

absolute dedication 24 hours a day this

film would never have been completed I

was already dressed and leaving to go

I'd walk by the tank and I looked

through the window and he'd still be

decompressing and he'd have his video

monitor underwater watching yesterday's

dailies on his 14th or 15th hour of the

day and I was on my way home stealth I

didn't really complain too much



that wasn't record but it was close with

15 minutes of decompression and total of

five hours and Cal getting still down

there he's getting a half hour while

Cameron is careful never to have the

cast experience decompression they still

pull long hours underwater I would say

about four hours three and a half hours

is great it's wonderful four and a half

hours three down for about five and a

half hours I'd say we built a little

high-pressure filling station where we

could pump our tanks back up to 3,000

psi which would give us another couple

of hours we would get down there and

then we would stay there and there's not

a lot to do underwater we all had to get

pretty Zen after a while we were all

good at it being able to stand there


about 30 40 feet down and just just

stand there

I mean you pretend like you're waiting

for a bus for four hours it took a long

time to set shots underneath the water

while I was in the sub so I was sitting

this up for four or five hours waiting

to shoot a shot that had a pretty good

idea you weren't gonna be able to

recognize me anyway and was usually

right knitting lots of sweaters I'm a

fast knitter but to give you some idea

of how much waiting around time I had

I did five sweaters while I was on the

show five sweaters and they were big

sweaters two of those before my dad I'm

sure somebody else talked about this

diet was gonna be called divers delight

when you're down there for three or four

hours there's certain hygiene

considerations that come up that was a

lot of course that's pissing in your

wetsuit the after-effects of which are

are quite extraordinary because you're

down there and and suddenly you're just

your whole being is infused with this

sort of sort of extraterrestrial glow it

well went down your leg and came up on

your body and it just felt really warm

it was a nice thing you know Coffee is

lemonade and what I cook everybody did

it you know you know 45 people pissing

in their wet suits I mean it was amazing

autumn as temperatures plummet the tanks

exhaust miles of fall into the

surrounding region hot tubs are used to

keep the divers from freezing soon it's

too cold to hold pre dive briefings

anywhere else on you come over that way

you can see the run we can rehearse the

shot on scuba then you go up in there

we'll have a hookah waiting for you Eric

we'll put Harry up in there the shot was

about a continuous swim underwater with

no air and it was kind of cold so it's a

little harder to relax and leo was

freaking out a little bit up in the tank

and they called action and I said nah

man I ain't going that cuz the okay man

catch a breath so I dropped down and

said a cut you know let's just calm down

a little bit so we dropped down we start

swimming and we get to the end and

you're out of breath he give a signal

and you're waiting for your dive diver

to come with your air but he can't be in

the shot so he's got to be a certain you

know distance out of the design so he's

not gonna be there in a second you go

like this but it seemed like an eternity

but you know they swam down again

certainly expanded our ideas of what we

could do man against man man against

nature man against himself the three

different types of dramatic conflict

that any good narrative storytelling has

unfortunately in addition to seeing it

in the film we were seeing it on the set

and in the dressing rooms because people

never were able to escape the abyss you

know the people that work with him you

know continuously I think understand

there's almost like being Catholic

school kind of you know there's

pressures that I you know I can't even

imagine to then I'm sure he had to put

up with on a daily basis I mean I don't

have a studio sitting over my head I

don't have you know the budget going up

Jemma's in the water 12 hours a day

every day we were in the water ten hours

a day max maybe two or three times a

week so you got to respect that so when

you got that kind of leadership you you

either come up to there you get the hell

out of there one or the other and not

one of us was willing to back down we

had a kind of a bond during the the

production that consisted of me

challenging them and there were times

when they I'm sure they hated my guts

but they hated the fact that I'd created

this situation and seduced them into

being there and I was the architect of

this misery my relationship with Jim I

think is a good one but I don't think he

trusts that I don't still feel that way

partly to him you know I know I think

it'll just be time because I think maybe

part of me still does the one thing that

he had that nobody else had to put up

with was the deep suit which was the

fluid breathing so there were there was

a whole set of demands on him that

nobody else had to deal with fluid

breathing soon and he actually breathing

no you just pretend moment juice they

would say okay today we're gonna we're

gonna take this other thing and put it

on your head you can't breathe we're

gonna fill it up with a pink water and

you're gonna pretend to be amazed at

watching blood Brigman your commander

breathe in the fluid reading I mean what

what's the challenge

there's Edie our friend walking into the

dead you mean for jumping in it was

extraordinary I mean there was no the

line between movie and and reality it

didn't exist I tried that I mean I try I

mean here I also also asked myself what

was he thinking about I'm trying all

this stuff you know because I like I

mean it's a challenge man first of all

in order for him to be able to see

inside a fluid-filled helmet he had to

wear contact lenses that were specially

made for him in Italy and they allowed

his eyes to focus underwater

so I was constantly exposed to the water

and it was a high amount of chlorine or

bromine whatever they were using and it

wouldn't take more than five minutes

down there before my eyes would start

stinging and I would try to stay down

there as long as possible because the

more we could shoot you know the more we

could get done the less time I'd have to

be down there

we had the helmet rigged so that the

faceplate would flip up even though it's

not supposed to do that on the real

helmet so that he could get access to a

regulator very quickly and you know we

did a lot of safety drilling and a lot

of rehearsals in shallow water and Ed

was really comfortable at no point was

he really afraid for his safety other

than the fact that we really had to be

very rigorous in the way we did



caracter they're supposed to be

free-falling through the water down the

wall of an abyssal trench or an abyssal

trough and he's going about three or

four knots just falling straight down

now in practical diving terms

you can't equalize rapidly enough to

fall that that fast without having your

hand on your nose and making a lot of

funny faces so since we don't want our

close-ups to look that way with our

leading man what we're gonna try to do

is simulate falling by toeing sideways

and turning the camera on its side so

we're towing sideways across a rock wall

for a medium close-up of Ed Harris

descending into the abyss holding your

breath you can't see you can't move you

for your fifth 45 feet underwater you

don't have any air supply at your own

they're gonna drag you 200 feet across

the bottom of this tank while you're

acting the elaborate tow rig is first

successfully tested with one of edge

stunt doubles Charlie Arneson we were

doing that in between the rehearsal and

the first take or second take they from

what I remember they strung a cable down

and Terry my safety diver got hung up on

that cable and about 40 feet into this

thing across the thing I realized this

is even happening man because I can't

hold my breath any longer I'm so excited

anyway there's water rushing up and my

nostrils I did this sign out of air

unhook myself get over to the wall got

no air I'm waiting for air and this

guy's hung up somewhere I got nobody

give me air then ice hang in there I had

a breath

no air and I'm going on this is great

you know then one of the guys swims over

another guy and he gives me his

regulator I'm just about to burst to

take in a lung full of water and he

gives me his regulator if he gives it to

me upside down so I get like half air

and half water I went like that I got a

lot of water my lungs you know I said

well this is something wrong here you

know and then I kind of fell maybe I

didn't purge a regulator blew out what

air I'd gotten in took another big

breath got water back in my lungs and

the first split second I really thought

I was a goner in and I then al came

swimming over the cameraman rip the

fucking thing out of whoever the guy was

and put his regulator in the right way

look the big breath in and went yeah


let's go up for a second

but I remember driving home that night

and uh I just broke down

I just weeping because

there was a part of me that was really

disappointed in myself for not being

able to do this thing and it was also a

part of me it's like I just I just don't

know what to do I was just I just I

don't know what

I was supposed to do I was in the middle

of something there like this and it was

and I really thought I was gonna die for

a second at night and it also pissed me

off that I was that I was afraid of that

that I got scared of that for a second

it was a all total mixture of so many

things you know and though it would

never got that dangerous again I always

had to be in that suit until the last

day of shooting I would not every day

but there was always I always knew I was

gonna have to go back down in this

fucking fluid breathing suit is probably

the ultimate trooper in the world and if

you know if you wasn't before the abyss

he certainly is at you know afterwards

you know it was a big big challenge and

just Edie just did it day after day he

just he just stepped up to the plate and

did it you know it was really something

to watch Fox had sent a particular

individual to find out why this movie

was going so slowly you know why did

this cost us so much money why our

wetsuits way over budget and we're

trying to explain to this person who

hasn't been there that the chemicals ate

through all the other wetsuits and they

are not only wardrobe but they're also

required for the crew members I mean

silly things that you feel like here we

are costing studio two hundred thousand

to two hundred fifty thousand dollars a

day and they're worrying about wetsuits

I didn't see the studio as my enemies

are my bosses at the budget level that

we were dealing with

they were my partners and if we were

gonna go down we were all gonna go down


we had the president of the studio

visiting to find out what's going on out

of this mad facility out in the middle

of nowhere and we're about to shoot a

scene in the control room set submerged

control room of the of the nuclear

submarines we start seeing this white

gummy tendrils floating up and almost in

clouds from underneath the the tiles of

the control room floor and it turns out

that they were all glued down with a

water-soluble paste which turned the

water into this kind of white usage and

we couldn't see a damn thing we couldn't

shoot anything and then I think

somewhere in there the generator failed

plunging us all into blackness it went

black I mean so black that like you

couldn't see your hand in front of your

face like this and you know the heart

starts pumping and you say to yourself

oh I can't see anybody I guess that

means nobody can see me gee I wonder how

much oxygen I had in my tank I don't

really remember gee I wonder where the

tank is gee I wonder where anybody else

is and it was kind of scary it was

pretty much her basic day on the abyss

the crew really never lost their their

sense of humor there was a great deal of

stress a great deal of tension and I

think it was during the the shooting in

a tank that we came up with with all of

the popular expressions like son of a

bitch and life's abyss and then you dive

the divers are coming out of the water

and we are finished at 8:10 even during

topside photography the cast and crew

are far from out of the water over 200

feet long and three levels high portions

of deep cores interior are constructed

beneath tremendous dump tanks that can

flood the set in a matter of seconds



open the chute lying down and I got a

beat it you know I got a run down there

the thing and getting golf bite and fall

and then like little kid stuff except

it's not little kid stuff cuz you know

something could go wrong in terms of

stunts even the smallest cast member

performs above and beyond the call of

duty sticking this rad into this water

for fear of what everybody else would

think that it's killing me here the

truth is the emulsion fluid the

fluorocarbon exists you know it's been

tested by the people that have developed

it we got the information on how to do

it from from Duke University from from

some of the the Pioneer researchers in

the field and I said look this isn't

gonna hurt the rat I'm not gonna have

I'm not gonna have an injured or dead

rat on my hands if I do that they said

no no we do it all the time we've done

it hundreds of times

none of which by the way you know cuts

any slack with with the ASPCA they don't

like scientists in the first place

generally speaking you know there is a

sort of natural antipathy there if we

don't do it right the rat will actually

die we have to drain its life so you let

it drain the rap wasn't thrilled I

wouldn't be thrilled either but it

didn't hurt it we even sent them to a

vet afterwards and had them get

penicillin shots in case they would get

a respiratory infection or something



we did it to five rats and five

different takes they were all fine Eenie

died of natural causes about three weeks

before the movie opened then they got

this call to Johnny Carson they wanted

me to come on with the rat and I had to

tell them the rat died and then it was

like you know oh yeah sure the rat just

died no it didn't have anything to do

with breathing liquid did it we actually

had to cut that scene out of the movie

in England because the Royal

veterinarian felt that it was painful

for the rats or something like that I

don't know how he knows that we got to

get you out of here Wow indeed the theme

of drowning will be at the heart of the

film's most powerful scene that's amis

been pretty classic that's that stuff I

feel good about that

when she's drowning in a little sub and

we swimming sucks when we're back and

then your vibe the whole film seems to

build to that moment when it's just two

people in a tin can

you know that's four feet across and one

of them's gonna die


it was very very tough on Mary Elizabeth

because if you think about what she was

going through that day she was sopping

wet she was exposed physically she's got

ed Harris pounding on her chest cuz you

know he's a real method actor and it's

not gonna kind of like fake it and she's

lying on a freezing cold grill you know

I don't know several hours over and over

again he wants particular things

physically and visually whether Jim plan

that or not and he certainly wasn't

always was the world that He created

interview guys are gonna do this and do

this and do this and do this and do this

and then you're not you're not gonna

know where you are who you are except

the fact that your mission is to save

this woman's life there was a lot of

tension on the set but it but you know

that's natural for that that type of

scene and I think that that energy is is

in the scene you see it and I'll never

forget this one take we are we're doing

it and everything is just going

incredibly well we can feel it and we

hear mchale song would say out of film

if the camera ran out on mistake and she

heard that she's just like freaked she

just said hey man we are not animals I

don't know what you're doing here but we

are not animals she runs off the set I

was like who could blame her yeah who

could blame her it was a month of

hardship and frustration exploding you

know and in a moment for her and

everybody felt for her certainly you

know Jim was pretty speechless cuz he

knew she had every right to feel the way

she was feeling we didn't know what to

say to her you know it's interesting to

note that the way the camera angle

worked heed Harris for the peak moment

of his performance in that scene he's

not playing to anybody there's nobody

there he's creating an honest

his head there's a camera there with a

big hole cut you know down below the

floor it's it's a pretty amazing piece

of work you can do it that's it Liz come

on back baby she was a we did shoot the

movie see if she went through a lot of

stuff she was pretty tough we got

something that was really really

effective people you know you put all

the effects in this for me I'm thinking

it ultimately comes down to

Ranieri people doing extraordinary

things December 14th

in preparation for the final scene a

tank has been drained revealing a

battered and rusted deep core the cast

and crew are no less weary it is decided

that after the actors head home Cameron

and a skeleton FX crew will stay on

until Christmas Eve in an attempt to

finish crucial underwater miniature

shots once back in Los Angeles principal

photography continues into March using a

variety of makeshift tanks the tanks

kept getting smaller we started in the

the world's biggest you know fresh water

filming tank ever and worked our way

down where you know from a 7 million

gallon tank to a 2 million gallon tank

to a 60,000 gallon tank to a swimming

pool and I think you know we probably

did some inserts with an aquarium or you

know you know teaspoon of water or

something at the end I don't know

August 9th 1989 the abyss opens in

theaters nationwide to be honest I

always heard from people that the movie

was great but it seemed to take an

enormous left turn in the very last act

of the film are you guys doing

it seems like you're in a completely

different movie for the last chunk of it

Wow when did it become et what happened

you know we were in a tight little

claustrophobic suspense thriller and

this is just too much for the amount of

preparation for it during

post-production we realized a number of

things one is that the film was running

a bit long and at the time any film over

2 hours and 10 minutes was considered an

enormous gamble you know it was pretty

clear the handwriting was on the wall we

had to cut the picture down so no war

same final we took out a lot of things

that were perfectly good scenes and I've

always found that the easiest way to

radically reduce a picture is to remove

an entire subplot not pick away at it so

the wave sequence was a really good

candidate for me are you guys doing


you guys are doing this there's a kind

of a holocaust about to happen in the in

the world and these water people are

responsible for it and but as kind of

every man is asking the questions that

the people would be asking on earth

while this tidal waves about to consume

them he's saying why are you doing this


we are literally judged by creatures by

an intelligence that has the power to

destroy us demonstrably they raise up to

2,000 foot waves or

hey guys are messing with stuff but

you're not necessarily the biggest kids

on the block and you've got to learn to

grow up a little bit

it's more of a morality tale has a

little bit more of a universal point to

it you wonder I think in in the film

that was released what it was all

leading up to and now I think the film

will flow much more smoothly and people

will understand that they encountered

with the NT eyes was really leading to

something quite quite historic you could

have done it

why didn't you

why they don't destroy it is because bud

has been willing to sacrifice his life

to save his compatriots and his wife up

up in the ship you know whether one has

a different appreciation of what that

moment means as a result of I don't know

understanding the characters more having

different resonances with respect to

what the NT eyes are all about and what

that final meeting between the two

species means it's hard to say to see

what people write and say about about

this version of the we had been through

something incredibly demanding arduous

but also momentous so I created little

pins that were life preservers that said

SS abyss survivor I don't think there's

anybody that would want to do it again

myself included son of a bitch

no way absolutely not I think there are

relatively few people that are not happy

that they did it to have said I was

there I saw what happened I was part of

it I grew to compare everything else

doing the abyss and

you know everything is cake believe me I

mean you walk around you hear back just

bitchin and moanin and feel piss about

this I say fuck you I did be a piss

it was fun trying to shoot a movie

underwater and I never ever thought of

that stuff we did underwater as being

difficult or really hard work Kimi it

was exciting and there was a there was

something new about it I guess you get

the impression some of it was great some

of it was hell so it's trying to

understand it

which maybe I never will completely

it was not I never I have not regretted

the experience for a second you know

even when I was down and no matter what

was going on you know the irony is that

Harris has probably got you know

hundreds of hours underwater but it was

all in a tank he learned in a lake

he's probably never been in the ocean

which is really a shame because the

ocean is really beautiful





The Description of Under Pressure: The Making of The Abyss Documentary - Bajo Presión: Documental de Cómo se hizo Abyss