Looking at Chris Kentis’ stripped-down, low-budget shark bait horror Open Water, it’s easy to see why Warner Bros might consider him a safe harbour for their long-developing film based on the tragedy of the USS Indianapolis.
You know the story, though if you don’t, it’s time to watch Jaws again. The Indianapolis was a US supply ship sunk by a Japanese sub in World War Two, with its crew abandoning ship, only to be left floating for five days in the Philippine Sea. That would be enough to worry anyone, but they were sharing the water with several sharks. In the end, just 317 out of the 900 who took the plunge survived the encounter.
"Being a diver and a WWII buff, this is a story that long haunted me," Kentis mouthed to Variety. Open Water was about two ordinary people who were oblivious to the dangers of nature until they were caught up in it. This is a story of heroism and selflessness, one that gives us the chance to consider that in a dire situation, you can't predict how people are going to react and who is going to emerge as that heroic figure."
This isn’t the first attempt by Warner Bros - a previous version with Mel Gibson starring never left the dock, and the studio is acutely aware that Universal has JJ Abrams considering a rival project. Kentis’ version will be adapted from Douglas Stanton’s book In Harm’s Way.