It’s summer, so that means it’s really hot out here in Phoenix. All I want is to go swimming, but it’s even too hot for that, unless I like swimming in the bathwater. To make up for how disgusting it is outside, I thought it would be nice to sit and watch Large White, a movie about friends on a boat in the middle of the ocean somewhere off the coast of Australia. Big mistake because apparently, lurking in the depths of this alluring aquatic oasis, is a really big fucking shark with a program, and this program is to kill people. To celebrate the release of his first film, I chatted with director Martin Wilson about filming in the water, peak predators in the bush and the sequel.
PopHorror: Hi Martine! How are you?
Martin wilson: Tiffany! I’m genius! I’m excited.
PopHorror: in fact I just watched Large White today.
Martin wilson: Yes?
PopHorror: And I liked it a lot. It was super intense.
Martin wilson: Thank you!
PopHorror: Had me on the edge of my seat.
Martin wilson: It’s awesome! It’s a great comeback. This is what we were looking for.
PopHorror: You have certainly achieved this. What intrigued you about a Large White and made you want to be part of it?
Martin Wilson: I think first of all of the enthusiasm of a beginning director. You just jump in when you’ve finally been given a chance, and I’ve been waiting for a long time. And sure enough, I loved the idea of a creature feature, and that’s where I wanted to take my next steps. And the thriller element and keep people on the edge of their seats. I had grown up with this kind of movies like The thing and Aliens and all of those kinds of movies. Jaws, of course, which I adore. Duel, what I like. All the Hitchcock and Spielberg stuff. That’s not to say that’s who we are, but obviously we’re trying to emulate these guys – these guys – as best you can with what you’ve got.
But I really wanted to show that there is a point of difference, because what’s so hard to do when making a shark movie is the environment of Northwest Australia, like the climate. of the north and the tropical sea, magnificent and vast and the epic landscapes that we have here. The water is so crisp; it’s so clean. There is this beautiful emerald green. You just want to dive in, but you know there is something very dangerous lurking underneath. You have this juxtaposition between beauty and danger. And also the feeling that Australia is an island. There’s this vast ocean and you’ll be on this tiny little raft in the middle of nowhere with the sharks sort of stalking you. I guess it’s all of these together into one.
PopHorror: I love that you raised the desire to dive into the water because that was my first thought. But then, it’s movies like yours that remind me why I don’t. So you’re not going to find me there on a boat.
Martin wilson: For good reason!
PopHorror: It was very ambitious of you to tackle a feature film shot almost entirely in water, your first feature film too. What were the challenges you faced?
Martin wilson: People said, “Don’t work with children or animals”, but they also said, “Don’t do it on the water”. But no one told me that. As a newbie director, obviously you just want to do it, so of course you take anything. You have a 25 day schedule which is amazing for action / adventure movies set on the water. When you watch the movie I hope you don’t know it or see it, but that’s what I had. I had to do everything during this time. There is no new shot, no reprogramming. Snap! This is what I had.
Then you are confronted with the elements of the wind, the tides, the sun in Australia, which is strong and brutally hot. You have stingers and jellyfish wandering around the water that want to take a bit of an actor. All those little things that you just can’t control. Someone goes away and gets sunburned, or a bite or an itch or the wind just gets too crazy, and you’ve wasted two hours. Then you’ve got to try to absorb it in the days to come so that it doesn’t … It’s so intense, so intense.
PopHorror: Twenty-five days is not a lot of time!
Martin wilson: Pulling on water is a very, very delicate task.
PopHorror: What’s the next step for you, Martin? Is there something you are currently working on?
Martin wilson: Well, obviously I love the characteristics of creatures. I want to go down and explore this route, and I have a few plans coming up. They are not solidly developed. In Australia we have the legend of the big cat, which basically consists of panthers and cougars and so on. Obviously we don’t have apex animals in Australia, but there are legends of American servicemen who were here during WWII. They had mascots and when they got home they dropped them in the bush. They have been hiding and wandering in the bush ever since. I have a similar story, like coming of age Support me, which I would like to start. Another one I have is a werewolf thing that could be on a plane. So there are a couple of things that I – fingers crossed – that once this movie comes out. Please everyone! Go see him. Then I’ll make those other films take off.
PopHorror: I am interested. You intrigued me. I hadn’t heard that. So it’s really interesting. I also like the characteristics of the creatures, so it’s in my alley.
Martin wilson: Awesome awesome!
PopHorror: And I just have one last question for you, Martin. What’s your favorite horror movie?
Martin wilson: The scariest movie I have ever seen is The Exorcist, and that I will only look at daylight. This is the scariest movie I have ever seen. I think my favorite scariest movie… Let me see… It might be Extraterrestrials. The second Extraterrestrial movie. I think it’s a really great movie. Very tense, very scary. I think it’s a masterpiece.
Thank you very much, Martin, for speaking with us. Make sure you catch Large White when he murders viewers in theaters, on VOD and digitally on July 16, 2021.