If you’ve seen The Shallows then apart from the fab shark you’ll also note how stunning the location is which is not in Mexico as per the film’s story but actually on a remote Australian island with a small rocky outcrop just 200 yards from the shore as the shark patrols the water around her.
The Shallows became the first large-scale film production to shoot scenes on the remote Lord Howe Island, which lies 600 nautical miles east of Sydney in the Tasman Sea and is a Forest Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage site administered by the government of New South Wales in Australia.
“It’s governed by a national park, all the waters around it are governed by a marine park, and all of the people who live on the island are fifth- and sixth-generation islanders, who bring a deep and intrinsic value to everything that happens,” said Duncan Jones, the film’s location manager.
The production team chartered 45 landing barges to carry filming equipment to the island and also transported 100 crew for the ten-day location shoot. Dedicated pathways had to be set into the beach for a single-file passage of crew so that the untouched appearance of the sand could be sustained rather than being covered in dozens of footprints during set ups.
Filming in water, especially open water, is notoriously challenging as ‘Jaws’ and ‘Waterworld will attest and is was the same for The Shallows. Image stability was particularly important for dialogue scenes and the camera had to be steadied on a boat-mounted crane while Lively was held still in the water by divers to stop her drifting out of shot during a take. The film also filmed at the main water tank facility at Village Roadshow Studios in Queensland, which is the largest of its kind in Australia at nearly 13,000 sq ft.
Australia is a popular international filming location that has attracted major studio productions like Pirates of the Caribbean 5 and Marvel’s superhero movie Thor: Ragnarok. However, the government has faced persistent calls to increase its 16.5% Location Offset – a major facet of the country’s federal filming incentive support – which producers often argue is too low to compete internationally