Survival thriller aficionado Andrew Traucki has commenced production on his latest project The Reef: Stalked, a sequel to 2010’s The Reef.
Filming began today in Queensland’s Bowen and will continue for six weeks.
Teressa Liane (The Vampire Diaries), Ann Truong (Cowboy Bebop, Strike Back) Kate Lister (Unhinged, Fox Trap) and newcomer Saskia Archer make up the cast, playing four friends on a kayaking and diving trip in Papua New Guinea that soon goes sideways.
Much like in the original film, the group must face down a great white shark, with this instalment exploring resilience, recovering from trauma and the strength of female friendship.
“I’m thrilled The Reef: Stalked is in production and back to Bowen where we shot parts of The Reef 11 years ago,” writer/director Traucki said in a statement.
“As a lover of survival tales, there is nothing I enjoy more than storytelling that pits humans against nature and asks the question ‘How would I survive?’.”
Producer Michael Robertson spoke to IF, explaining why The Reef has returned after more than a decade.
“When we made the original Reef it certainly wasn’t our plan to develop this into a franchise, but the film received such extraordinary appeal and audience around the world.
“You only have to Google ‘Top 10 shark films of all time’ and it always features in that.
“[Andrew] decided to revisit this genre and he was able to create a story that was more than a shark film thriller.
“It’s what he likes to call elevated genre, and out of that came this project.”
While The Reef was based on real events, the sequel will be an entirely original story.
For the original film Traucki used actual footage rather than special effects to portray the shark, as he believed it made the film more real.
A decade of technological development later that position has softened somewhat.
“It’s 50/50 now,” Robertson explained. “We’re still using existing shark footage that we’ve been able to access from around the world but we’re also augmenting this with shark assets of an animatronic shark that my partner Neal Kingston and I have managed to create.”
“This is a shark head and fin which we are able to put into controlled situations,
“Obviously we don’t use this in the open ocean but when we go into a water tank or something similar we use it for close ups.”
Robertson and fellow producers Neal Kingston and Jack Christian are continuing their love affair with the survival thriller genre, with the trio also producing Great White, which makes its Australian theatrical debut this week via Bonsai Films.
The Reef: Stalked is the third film from Robertson and Kingston’s Thrills and Spills production company, following Great White and Traucki’s Black Water: Abyss, while Christian’s Los Angeles based Filmology Finance is backing the project financially.
Justin Brickle serves as DOP, with production designer Dylan Schenkeveld, art director Brad Diebert, costume designer Zed Dragojlovich, assistant director Martin Hallman, and make-up artist Angela Conte the other heads of department.
Robertson has a long history working with Traucki going all the way back to the writer-director’s first feature, 2007’s Black Water.
They also worked together on the original The Reef.
“We’ve developed a very close relationship as personal friends and he’s a filmmaker that likes to work with me as a producer, and I like that arrangement myself.” Robertson said.
“We’ve bonded with him and we know he can deliver the tension and the action required.
“Nothing’s guaranteed in this business but we know [the relationship] is something that we can build on.”