Interview: Director Kevin MacDonald talks “Black Sea”

Black Sea tells the story of Robinson (Jude Law), a submarine captain who, in order to make good with his former employers, takes a job with a shadowy backer to search the depths of the Black Sea for a submarine rumored to be loaded with gold.

We got a chance to sit down with the Academy Award winning director, Kevin MacDonald (The Last King of Scotland), to discuss his latest film.

Besides the fear of being at the bottom of the ocean, these men are also kind of thinking about this money that they are about to find.  And some of them aren’t too happy about the fact that they have to do the even split, even though it would still be plenty of money. What do you think it is about money that changes people and makes them act in psychotic ways?

“Yeah I mean; I think the center of this movie is sort of what greed can do to people.  And not even so much what money can do to people, ‘cause it’s not sort of anti-money in this film.  It’s sort of anti-greed, I suppose.  And it’s the idea that, people, instead of realizing when you’ve got enough, it’s like I always want more.  I want more and more!  And that’s kind of part of human nature.  That kind of dark part of human nature, isn’t it?  Yeah, it’s the positive and negative of human nature, both present in this extreme circumstance.”

This was probably one of my favorite roles to see Jude Law in as Robinson.  I really felt for his character, especially, with him losing his family to his job.  Because I think in any work that you do, you can get wrapped up in it and kind of lose sight of the ones you love.

“I think that’s exactly, that’s the sort of central theme I suppose.  And it’s a very simple one really of this movie.  Is that we all kind of think that our jobs are so important; that we only get respect from other people, because of whether we’re successful in our jobs and all these sort of things.  And the pressure that there is to be successful to earn money, but actually when all is said and done; that’s not what’s important about life.  And at the end of our lives none of us are going to think, “oh I wish I had spent more time at the office.”  We’re going to think, “I wish had spent more time with my family.  I wish I loved that person more, and made that relationship work.”  Those are the things that you’ve got to think about.  And I guess that’s what’s fundamentally at the heart of this movie.”

I mean for me, the moment they entered the water; I was on the edge of my seat.  I was just terrified the whole time.  So, is there another film for you that has given you that same excitement while watching?

“I mean, I think Gravity has that feeling for me.  You know pretty much as soon as the movie starts, and you’re in this precarious situation space walking with Sandra Bullock. You’re terrified.  And you’ve got vertigo (laughs), and yeah, I think this is sort of the underwater version of that.”

Yeah, it is. It gave me the same effect actually, because I struggled to breathe in both those films.

“(Laughs) So there’s a good recommendation.  If you want to struggle to breathe, go and see this movie!”


Black Sea opens in select theaters January 30.

Susan Kamyab

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