Podcast: Kevin Macdonald on the Making of Black Sea


LISTEN: Kevin Macdonald on the Making of Black Sea

Academy Award Winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald’s Black Sea” releases today in San Francisco bay area. We spoke to Macdonald about the making of “Black Sea,” and what drew him to this particular story about a group of ragged submariners, who want to salvage gold from a sunken World War Two submarine.

What was the real life event that got him thinking about a film on submarines? How did Macdonald work with a cast that consisted of international actors, where  half of them spoke English, while the other half spoke only Russian? What was the films he and his crew watched during the making of the film? Was there a political philosophical underpinning to the narrative, or was I reading too much into it?  We also spoke about his earlier films and about his grandfather, the legendary filmmaker Emmeric Pressburger. In the 1940s and 1950s  Michael Powell and Pressburger made films like  “The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp  and “The Red Shoes”  and influenced a lot of young filmmakers including Martin Scorsese. 

Black Sea directed by Kevin MacDonald. Photo courtesy - Focus Features

Black Sea

Black Sea” is written by Dennis Kelly and is a desperate tale about a group of submariners, who want to salvage gold from a sunken World War Two submarine in the Black Sea. Heading this ragtag group of British and Russian submariners is Captain Jude Robinson (Jude Law). This illicit expedition is backed by a rich financier, who wants a share of this gold. Now, when you are cooped up in a submarine with communication problems (since half the crew speaks English, and the other half speaks Russian), you are bound to encounter problems – a sort of Hobbesian world of nasty and brutish behavior. How does that in turn impact the success of the expedition? Does the group succeed in its mission?  You will have to see the film to find out how it ends.

“Black Sea” stars Jude Law, Scott McNair, Ben Mendelsohn, David ThrelfallKonstantin Khabensky,  and Grigoriy Eduardovich Dobrygin. Cinematography by Christopher Ross.

Photo Courtesy: Focus Features

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