Making 'Mavericks'

Sam Alipour sits down with Gerard Butler and Jonny Weston, the stars of "Chasing Mavericks," to discuss their movie about big wave surfing legend Jay Moriarty.

In the new film "Chasing Mavericks," Greg Long plays the role of Maverick's pioneer Jeff Clark. He was also an integral part of the stunt team in the water at at the famed Half Moon Bay big-wave break. Between attending various premeries of the movie, Long had this to say about the experience:

The biggest concern that everybody had going into the making of this movie was how authentic and real could it actually be. We've seen all of the Hollywood movies in the past, and yeah, they're great stories and for the most part they're great movies that people enjoy, but from a surfer's point of view they have done an injustice to our sport, both in the way they portray surfers as well as the way it's all captured. They have great imagery, but you see it time and again where one second the guy's going regular foot, the next second he's goofy, or he's on a different-color board or something. It's literally just disastrous.

Going into this, that was everybody's primary concern, and it wasn't even going to get a foot off the ground unless everybody was in agreement with the test shots, the face replacement, as well as the fact [of] figuring out if it was even possible to film Maverick's with the kind of equipment that they wanted to.

So it was a couple years of doing research and development to see if this was something that was even possible. When it all came down to it, and the higher powers that be came in, it was like, okay, we can do this. And they got the consent from those immediately involved. That was the priority from the very beginning and it held true all the way through the final production of the movie.

Unfortunately -- and this was one of the biggest things we'd known all along -- you're trying to make a movie in one of the most unpredictable, unruly environments: one being the ocean, two being at one of the biggest surf breaks in the world, and three, you're trying to bring all of this into play and at the same time capture a fraction of a moment. It's one thing to go out there and film surfing and whatever happens, happens; you're there to document it. It's another thing to have a script to it and have a concept or idea, specific shots, that you want or need to get to help further the story. And then you try and get winds, currents, swell, tide, weather, you name it, all to line up for that shot, and it was demanding and challenging on all fronts.

For everybody it was challenging, from the actors, the cinematographers, the boatmen -- everybody worked really hard. It wasn't uncommon to spend 10 hours in the water and at the end of the day you only had a small fraction of what you were hoping to. If you miss your shot, you're looking at waiting another half hour to circle all the boats again, get everything ready and in alignment. It was a serious process.

It was a lot more work than I expected going into it. We knew it was going to be a lot of work, but I think the length that we had to go to and the amount and time and effort that we had to put into it far surpassed everybody's expectations. That said, we couldn't be more proud of the finished product.

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