By ANGELA DAWSON
Front Row Features
HOLLYWOOD—It’s an atypical cold and rainy day here in Southern California but the dreary conditions seem to be the appropriate setting for an interview with Scottish director Kevin Macdonald, who is in town promoting his new underwater thriller, “Black Sea.”
In this post-Cold War adventure thriller, Jude Law plays a down-on-his luck former sub captain who cobbles together a rag-tag group of Scottish and Russian sailors to go on a treasure hunt into the murky depths of Russia’s Black Sea. This unsanctioned and illegal expedition has to remain (literally) under the radar, or the captain and his crew could face arrest or worse.
They also face the peril of being aboard an aging Russian sub that could sink at any time, killing all onboard, with no chance of rescue. Of course, for these desperate, hardy men, the possibility of finding millions in gold bullion from a rumored sunken German U-boat, the pros outweigh the cons. With each crew member promised an equal share of the booty, it doesn’t take long for some to get greedy and for others to revert to dangerous old alliances. Betrayal, a startling discovery and escalating uncertainty about the mission cause the men to turn on each other, only to realize they have to draw a truce in order to make it back to the surface alive.
Macdonald (“The Last King of Scotland,” Oscar winner for the documentary “One Day in September”) conceived the idea several years ago when he read about the Russian nuclear-powered sub Kursk, which sunk in the Barents Sea following an explosion. No one could reach the survivors in time. He enlisted Tony award-winning playwright Dennis Kelly (“Matilda”) to pen the “Black Sea” screenplay.
The genial filmmaker spoke about casting Law, the English actor who bulked up and adopted a thick Scottish brogue for the role, why he was attracted to the idea of making a sub movie and finding a real Russian sub in which to shoot part of the film.