We've seen "47 Meters Down" and we can attest: It's super-stressful and absolutely terrifying. (Apparently the thriller was super-stressful and sometimes terrifying to make too!) Mandy Moore and Claire Holt star in the film, which debuts on June 16, 2017, as sisters who experience the worst while cage diving with great white sharks off the coast of Mexico: Their cage plummets to the bottom of the ocean, leaving them stranded underwater with only minutes of air left in their oxygen tanks while surrounded by one of the world's deadliest predators. And while their lives were never in any real danger, the singer-actress and the star of "The Originals" certainly had their fair share of scary moments on set. Wonderwall.com caught up with the duo — who dished on stretched lungs, bumps and bruises, why sharks were the least of their concerns and more — in the lead-up to the debut of "47 Meters Down." Keep reading for the highlights from our chat…
Neither of you had scuba dived before shooting "47 Meters Down." What was training like?
Mandy Moore: "We didn't do a ton of training, truth be told. I wish we had done more just because it was fun. But we began our diving certification in a class in the pool and then we had an open ocean dive the next day, and that was the first time Claire and I really met each other. And it was equal parts exhilarating and terrifying. Then a couple weeks later, we started shooting the movie, which was pretty different in every regard than being in the open ocean [because of] all of the things that are completely out of your control. We shot the movie in a tank in London and then in another tank in the Dominican Republic. I don't think either of us were prepared for how physically challenging it was. It was so exhausting. At the end of the day, both of us were just tired in our bones. You exert so much energy underwater that you don't even realize. You don't think, 'Oh, screaming and having labored breathing and swimming in a circle and trying to get out of the cage, that's not really gonna take it out of you!' But it does. We were ill-prepared."
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Which of you two took to scuba diving more naturally?
Mandy Moore: "Claire is definitely a natural athlete. You are!"
Claire Holt: "I've spent a lot of time in a tank before. I did a show where I played a mermaid ['H2O: Just Add Water'], so I had experience with that. But Mandy was far more game than I am."
Mandy Moore: "I would actually go shark diving. But in terms of the movie and preparedness, Claire is super-athletic. And she was down for the adventure and was like my advocate. I was just sort of following her lead."
Claire Holt: "No, Mandy nailed it. You know what? We actually really relied on each other. It was hard, so I really needed Mandy. I was exhausted, and she really encouraged me to keep going."
Mandy Moore: "Likewise and vice versa!"
Claire Holt: "We needed each other."
Mandy Moore: "We had to be there for one another because we were the only ones who were sharing this unique experience, no one else — not even the underwater camera crew. It was on us, and it was our responsibility to help tell this story and to try to make it believable and make it withstand all the crazy conditions of spending eight weeks every day under water."
What was the scariest thing that happened to you on set?
Mandy Moore: "There is a moment that happens where my mask is removed from my face, and although we were only shooting in 20 feet of water or something, when your mask is removed and your access to oxygen is taken away and the world around you becomes blurry, it's pretty terrifying to just rely on someone being there with a regulator to help you breathe. Once they'd gotten the shot — maybe it was just the anticipation of having to hold my breath — I felt like I could not hold my breath. I was so scared. That was a pretty challenging moment for me. … And when the cage falls and breaks off from the bottom of the boat, that was really difficult to shoot as well. There were so many bits and pieces — we were bopping our heads on the cage; our legs are getting bruised up; we're not able to equalize our ears properly. You're just like, 'This is super-uncomfortable, and I don't think we're supposed to feel this way.'"
What was the most difficult moment for you on set?
Claire Holt: "There was one day when my oxygen wasn't really turned on — the airflow wasn't as much as I needed, so it was really quite hard to breathe all day. I thought it was just 'cause I was exhausted and was just having trouble getting through the shoot. But when I came out at the end of the day, it was really, really tough to breathe. The dive master said to me, 'Oh, wow, I stretched your lungs out a little. You should be all right tomorrow.' That frightened me a little bit! I wasn't sure if I was ever going to be able to breathe normally again. But surely enough, the next day, I was Okay."
Between the two of you, who would panic and who would keep calm during an emergency?
Mandy Moore: "I don't know that either of us would stay calm."
Claire Holt: "I think we would both panic. But we're a pretty great team. I'm sure we'd come up with a [plan]."
Mandy Moore: "[There would be] moments of being collected and measured and figuring out what the next steps were, but I think it's only human nature to be terrified of life-threatening situations."
How did you change your fitness routine to gear up for the physically strenuous shoot?
Claire Holt: "Both of us tried to maintain a base level of fitness going into it just because we knew that it would be exhausting, and we had to be fit to be able to withstand the rigors of swimming underwater for eight weeks. We also found that we were very fit by the end and our lung capacities had really increased. So even though we had these exhausting days of shooting, most evenings we would go home and do a running class or a spin class or something to try and keep ourselves strong to be able to get through it."
What's your biggest fear?
Mandy Moore: "This film sort of highlights it: not being able to breathe and running out of air and drowning at the bottom of the ocean. It's far scarier than sharks."
Claire Holt: "That's definitely a massive phobia. Going into this, I would've said sharks were my No. 1 fear, yeah. But thinking about it now, that's probably a pretty quick death. Running out of air seems to be far more frightening."
Would you rather go skydiving or deep sea diving?
Mandy Moore: "I've been skydiving a few times, so that doesn't scare me. But I think I would be down to go cave diving. I don't want to sit at the bottom of the ocean, though. That does not sound fun to me."
Claire Holt: "I don't want to sit at the bottom of the ocean. I don't really want to cave dive, but I will if Mandy says I have to. I do want to skydive — I've never been. But I'm gonna do it!
Mandy Moore: "I'm already submitting her for the next 'Top Gun' movie."