Mission of the Shark Home
Facts Behind the Story
Mission of the Shark--Thoughts on the Production
This was the first project that required Warriors Inc. to switch from OD green to Navy blue and it was a genuine challenge requiring lots of period research and recall of my life with sailors and time at sea. It was also a turning point in the building of the Warriors reputation in Hollywood. We demonstrated that we were more than just a ground combat or land forces outfit. If it was military - in one form or another - we could do it. I began to expand our research library at this point, betting that we would find ourselves needing access to a wide range of material on all wars and all services. I was right about that.
Mission of the Shark was also a physically rugged and demanding project. When we moved from Alabama to Puerto Rico to film sequences with the crew in the water and the shark attacks, I spent hour after hour either on a floating camera platform or in the water with the actors keeping up their spirits and coaching their performance. I was never so happy to shuck out of a wetsuit as I was at the end of a filming day out on the Caribbean.
I believe I also got some valuable insight into the meaning of courage and fortitude during the time I spent with USS Indianapolis survivors. These guys told me stories that gave me nightmares for weeks. I respected them hugely and promised to do everything I could to bring their story to the screen accurately and passionately. When they left me to get on with telling their story, one of the aged vets who had been a Signalman on the USS Indianapolis gave me a set of semaphore flags that he carried with him into the water and brought home after the war. I was deeply honored. Those flags occupy a position of honor among all my other war souvenirs and I've even used them in two other films as an homage to the brave men of the USS Indianapolis.