Deep Blue Sea 3 Star Tania Raymonde Talks Sharks, Conservation, and Lost

The original Deep Blue Sea landed in theaters in 1999 and, while some audiences might have [...]

The original Deep Blue Sea landed in theaters in 1999 and, while some audiences might have dismissed its absurdity of focusing on a group of sharks inadvertently made super-smart by researchers, other viewers became enamored with that audacity and earned it a cult following. Of its many fans, actress Tania Raymonde considers herself one such devotee, so when the opportunity to join its sequel, Deep Blue Sea 3, was presented to her, she immediately had nostalgic memories of witnessing the first film unfold. Not only did it mark an opportunity to become a part of a series she enjoyed, but it also allowed her to help spread awareness of the impact humans have on the environment. Deep Blue Sea 3 is out now on Digital HD and on Blu-ray and DVD on August 25th.

In the film, "Emma Collins (Raymonde), an eminent marine biologist, and her crew have set up a mid-ocean laboratory over a sunken island town in the ocean where they are observing the first known Great White mating area. Unfortunately, the enhanced Bull Sharks that escaped in Deep Blue Sea 2 are also there with their own evolutionary goal: cross-breeding with the bigger faster Great Whites. The mission's patron, Richard Lowell, believes that the Bull Sharks contain the key to intelligence enhancement, which he secretly intends to sell for big profits. Now, Emma and her crew are trapped on crumbling stilt houses mere feet over the ocean, caught between predators above and below the water." caught up with Raymonde to talk her interest in the series, her love of sharks, and if she'd be interested in joining a Lost reboot.

tania raymonde deep blue sea 3 lost alex rousseau I love sharks, but I know not everybody loves sharks. What were your thoughts on sharks before you had shot this movie?

Tania Raymonde: I also love sharks, so I'm not one of those people that's afraid of them. Jaws is one of my all-time favorite movies. Yes, it's terrifying and it's a masterpiece, and I have many fears but sharks have never been one of them, so I find it kind of ironic. But I think they're beautiful creatures. I mean, I've never gotten very close to one, but the ones that I have seen in real life, they're magnificent. Feels like dinosaurs, they're the coolest things ever.

Agree on all counts, especially that sharks are so ancient that they're basically living dinosaurs.

The ocean is fascinating to me. It's like space or something. To think there are such huge portions of this planet underwater that are largely undiscovered to me is insane. It's so cool.

Your character is discussing the horrors of global warming when we first meet her, and even though you already loved sharks, did shooting this movie have an impact on your awareness of the environment or of these animals?

Definitely, because I think, actually, Emma's character was sort of based on an amalgamation of a couple young scientists, marine biologists, studying sharks and studying global warming. I think there's this woman named Melissa Marquez, I think is her name. She's a marine biologist and she's the founder of a conservation outfit, but she's really great and very, very passionate about what she does, and is a true scientist.

I watched a lot of her stuff as I was getting ready for the film, just to try and see it from her perspective of real "boots on the ground," what it's like to see the serious, catastrophic effects of global warming on the ocean and what it's actually doing to the wildlife and the ecosystem. So, she was one of the people that I paid particular attention to as I was just reading a little bit more about what exactly is going on.

Then, there's another girl who's awesome named, I think her name's Madison Stewart, who also is a conservationist. She's got a great program going on, I think it's called "Project Hui." There's shark fishing going on around the world, especially in some countries in Asia, where they're selling sharks' fins for money and they make soup out of them and all that stuff. It's just become a cultural thing.

What she's done is she's paying the "shark hunters," I guess you would call them, or the fishermen, the money they would have made selling the fins to basically get them out of business and have them join her in her conservation efforts. She's fronting them the money, essentially, through this organization, through this charity organization, and basically one boat at a time trying to prevent shark fishing from ever happening, and eventually make it stop. It's incredible what she's doing, and she's a badass. She's so cool-looking. She's like a real-life superhero. So I was inspired by these women.

Since the original movie isn't as well-known as something like Jaws and there's a bit of absurdity to it, what was your original reaction to potentially getting involved in its second sequel?

I remember watching the first movie in the theaters when I was a kid and just thinking, "This is the coolest thing ever." I wanted a pet parrot, I was obsessed with LL Cool J and Sam Jackson, and just thought that Thomas Jane guy was super cute, even though I was like a child, so that's weird. I just thought it was one of the most epic things I'd ever seen. I loved it. So when I was sent the script, just from the title, I thought, "Oh, whoa. Cool, okay. I remember this movie, this is great. I want to read it." Then when I read it, what I liked the most about it, what drew me to it was just there's was a very straightforwardness about the story. It unfolded almost like a classic action film.

It was like ... how would I put it? I really believed in Emma's passion for doing what she does. None of it seems put upon it. I really felt like, "I know it's a little extreme, and these sharks are huge and scary, and they are modified, and it's slightly sci-fi, but it has a feel of realism," like maybe something similar could happen to a group of isolated scientists like this.

The fact that she so earnestly believed in her cause made the whole rest of the movie believable to me. I was touched by it. It didn't matter if they were sharks, it could have been like a killer snake conservationist or they could have been monkeys in Tibet. It didn't matter, it wasn't really about that. That was just from the strength of the story, I think, and the simplicity and straightforwardness of it. I really liked it. That sold it for me, really. That was the most important part.

Well you bring up a word I used a lot when talking about what I liked about the movie--


Well, that, and "earnest." Sometimes when talking about how earnest the sharks are.

They really are. Just when they bite, it's what they really go for too.

What I liked about the original, and this movie, is that there's an earnestness to the concept and the commitment to the premise from the cast and crew, which allows the more absurd things to feel all the more engaging. While things like the Sharknado franchise are awful and they are intentionally awful, it just gets tiring trying to watch something that is intentionally awful. Since you also enjoyed the original Deep Blue Sea and its silliness, how do you navigate that balance between earnestness and absurdity?

To be honest, it was so physically challenging that that was never even a thought in my mind. The only thing I was thinking of was each scene as an individual scene, and to me physically, it was so challenging that I never even had a second to think like, "Okay, wait, hold on a second." Like, "Could this really happen?" You know what I mean? Also, we were never acting with anything. So, in a sense, I think that's actually good, because very rarely would we ever have puppets or anything. Mostly, it was either nothing, just staring out into underwater, looking out at the sea, trying to imagine a shark or it was a tennis ball on a stick.

You could conjure up any image in your mind that you wanted. I was just put in a situation where I had to visualize what was the most terrifying thing that I could encounter: my mother underwater. No, I'm kidding. I love her. So, it made it easier in a sense. I think if you have a big, silly-looking puppet underwater, I imagine maybe that's a little harder to take seriously. But we were so bamboozled with so much physical stuff, so much underwater diving, that it was a very, very huge physical challenge that none of us even had that thought in our minds, which is good. We're lucky.

Wait, there weren't any shark actors in this?

I know, right? Technology, it's incredible what we can do now. I actually wasn't even in the movie either.

Wow, interesting.

I'm talking to you from a third dimension. It was all, actually, have you ever heard of an underwater hologram? It's a huge thing.

A lot of great scoops I'm getting here on new tech.

Yeah. You're sleeping, we're not really talking right now. This whole thing's an experiment. Don't you know that?

Hey, Deep Blue Sea and The Matrix both came out in 1999, so I think you're confirming the crossover is coming.

That's what I'm saying. The signs are out there, think about it.

This is the 10th anniversary of Lost ending, where you played Alex Rousseau, and since co-creator Damon Lindelof has admitted he knows the mythology is larger than his own ideas and someone could potentially reboot it, would you be interested in coming back to the series for a new story or spinoff or do you prefer to keep it just this part of your career as a thing you really loved and would rather avoid revisiting?

No way, I'd do it again in a second. Are you crazy? That was the most fun ... I mean, again, it's the same thing as Deep Blue Sea. The set was so incredible, but it was like, "This is Waterworld." I was amazed at the construction of the set. We had explosions and hydraulics and things crashing and sinking, and all this diving and water, and we're in the middle of Cape Town and it's beautiful.

The same way with Lost, it never felt like a TV show, because we were isolated shooting in the middle of the jungle alone, knee-deep in mud and rain all the time. So, again, it was like summer camp almost, in a weird way. It never really felt like a show. The same with this, it almost just felt like a movie but it was different. We're not shooting on the stage, it felt more real. So yeah, I mean Lost, my God, did he really say that he would ever think about doing it again?

Well, Damon has said he's not interested but understands he introduced mythology that was bigger than himself and he encouraged others to explore it with the right perspective.

That's crazy. That's awesome.

So it sounds like you'd love to reprise Alex as much as fans would love seeing it.

Yeah, especially if they have any sort of underwater sequences in Hawaii that they need someone to consult on, I can tell them how it works. I can do diving training.

And now the Smoke Monster can go underwater and you'll have no problem imagining it.

That's right, exactly.


Deep Blue Sea 3 is out now on Digital HD and on Blu-ray and DVD on August 25th.