Luke Mitchell with Jessica McNamee.
Luke Mitchell shot Andrew Traucki’s Black Water: Abyss, a survival thriller about five people who are attacked by killer crocodiles, in a purpose-built pool near Brisbane, but it was no picnic.
“The fear factor was real. There were tricky conditions as we were immersed in rising water in the dark with only our headlamps and torches for illumination,” the actor tells IF after returning to his home in Los Angeles.
Mitchell readily accepted the role for several reasons. He wanted to “get my hands dirty” after playing Captain John Abraham in The Code, a military legal drama which screens on CBS All Access in the US and here on 10 All Access.
It was his first ever genre film, it enabled him to come back to his native Queensland, and it was his first chance to work with Jessica McNamee.
“There was minimal dialogue, so for the actors it was about throwing ourselves into each moment and trying to create some magic,” he says. “Our jobs as actors were really helped by the amazing set design and set construction.
“I hope it will stand out among the plethora of CGI-filled movies. We used real crocodiles. I am glad I did not meet my reptilian co-stars face to face. They shot their stuff first and we shot our stuff second.”
Michael Robertson and Neal Kingston produced the sequel to Traucki and David Nerlich’s 2007 horror/thriller Black Water through their newly formed joint venture Thrills & Spills with Traucki and Silver Wings Films’ Pam Collis.
Scripted by Sarah Smith and Ian John Ridley, the plot follows Mitchell’s Eric as he sees the chance to make easy money by accompanying his mate Cash (Anthony Sharpe), a tour guide in Cairns, down a sink hole where they hope to find an undiscovered caving system.
He cajoles his reluctant girlfriend Jennifer (McNamee) and close friends Yolanda (Amali Golden) and Viktor (Benjamin Hoetjes) to come along, not realising that an approaching storm will flood the cave and unleash the crocs.
Mitchell credits Traucki with forsaking the safety of watching from a distance on a video screen, instead donning a wetsuit or fisherman’s pants to call the shots just a few metres from where each scene was filmed. The majority of the crew did likewise.
The DOP was Damien Beebe. Robert Slaviero and Richard Becker’s R&R Films will distribute in Australia.
Luke Mitchell in ‘The Code.’ (Photo credit: CBS Inc.)
The former Home and Away actor moved to LA with his wife Rebecca Breeds in 2013 after landing a recurring role in The Tomorrow People, a sci-fi series about a group of young people who possess paranormal powers for The CW network.
After that he played superhero Lincoln Campbell in Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Then came his biggest break: Playing Roman, a terrorist and mass murderer, in two and a half seasons of the NBC drama Blindspot, alongside Sullivan Stapleton and Jaimie Alexander.
The Code follows the prosecutors, defence lawyers and investigators who work on US Marine Corps. cases. His character is a judge advocate. There is no word yet on whether it will be renewed.
Rebecca had a guest role as an NCIS agent and former flame of Abraham in the series, the first time she had appeared on screen with her husband since Home and Away.
The actress has just written, produced and starred in the short film Air, directed by Elizabeth Henstridge. She plays a woman who runs her own AirBnB in the quirky rom-com which takes a dark twist.
Surveying his career, Luke says: “I’ve been very lucky, but I have worked very hard. I just love acting so if I can find a way to continue to do that I will be very happy.”