CS Interview: Connie Nielsen on timely sci-fi thriller Sea Fever
The TIFF hit Sea Fever has finally debuted on digital platforms and ComingSoon.net got the opportunity to chat with star Connie Nielsen (Wonder Woman 1984) to discuss the seafaring sci-fi thriller and its now timely nature. Pick up your digital copy of Sea Fever here!
Written and directed by Neasa Hardiman (Inhumans), the film follows marine biology student Siobhán (Hermione Corfield, Slaughterhouse Rulez) who prefers to spend her days alone in a lab but must endure a week on a fishing trawler, where she finds herself at odds with the close-knit crew. While out in the deep Atlantic, an unfathomable life forms ensnares the boat and members of the crew succumb to a strange infection, she must overcome her alienation and win the crew’s trust before all is lost.
In addition to Corfield, the film’s cast includes Nielsen, Dougray Scott (Mission: Impossible 2) and Olwen Fouéré (Mandy, Animals) and is produced by John McDonnell (Vivarium) and Brendan McCarthy (The Last Days on Mars, Vivarium), and is available for purchase on digital platforms now!
Though Nielsen and her co-stars and director Hardiman did not foresee the coming pandemic that would trap audiences in their home in a similar nature to the characters in the film, she finds that parallels can be drawn between how the outbreak is affecting cruise ships with the characters being stuck at sea with a potentially viral threat, while also noting comparisons between Corfield’s Siobhán and Alien‘s Ripley. She also explored the relationship between Dougray Scott’s captain, Gerard, and her co-captain Freya, finding that she’s not necessarily a “dominant force,” but is rather seen as an equal to her husband.
“I think that people do feel as if, ‘Oh, this is a novelty that she’s an authority on the boat,” Nielsen said. “Whereas it’s really a normal thing in many communities around the world, to have a female authority figure as well.”
Nielsen is no stranger to the sci-fi genre, having starred in the Blade Runner sidequel Soldier, the Brian De Palma-helmed Mission to Mars before going on to star in the DC Extended Universe in Wonder Woman and Justice League, and finds herself to be a huge fans of the genre.
“I love how one can tell bigger stories and highlight things about human beings through these genre movies,” Nielsen described. “They provide a storytelling tool that makes it possible to talk about things that otherwise are undiscussed and would be considered too sophisticated. But the genre movie often allows sophistication, where it’s like, untold stories to be told, because they’re so entertaining and provide a guarantee of entertainment, even though you’re talking about things that are rather profound.”
In getting to work with Hardiman for her feature-length debut, with the Irish director having directed plenty of television including Z: The Beginning of Everything and Inhumans, Nielsen found that she was “good at telling a story,” having a “lot of training at getting the story told.”
“She had a little bit more leeway both in terms of the parameters of the storytelling and the length of the feature, which I think she really enjoyed,” Nielsen said. “But you can see how she’s very spare and economical in her storytelling, just because she comes from TV that way, and I really appreciated that. I really felt that that was a benefit to the story.”
Despite its seafaring story, Nielsen revealed that none of the project was actually filmed at sea, with the scenes taking place on the exterior of the boat being shot with it attached to one of the small harbors outside of Dublin while the interiors were on a set that was “built to replicate the boat almost exactly.” In signing on for the film, Nielsen found it was “a really great thriller” that she has seen people react to it “with a lot of relief.”
“It’s fresh and it’s good writing at the same time, and you have really interesting characters,” Nielsen said. “And then you have this really great tension that keeps building throughout the film.”