Kristen Stewart Admits She Had to Tap Out While Filming ‘Underwater’

Underwater is the harrowing thriller about a deep sea crew who have to escape their collapsing station after an earthquake. Their situation only gets worse when creatures from below the surface come out to attack them. Kristen Stewart stars as Norah and she didn’t really film underwater, but that didn’t make the movie easy. 

Underwater: Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart | Alan Markfield/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Underwater is now available to watch on digital VOD platforms and physical DVD and Blu-ray. Each version of the film also includes some behind the scenes bonus features in which Stewart talks about making the film. Filming got so intense at some points she had to tap out, but even that wasn’t an immediate relief. 

Kristen Stewart was stuck in a 100 pound deep sea suit

Even filming in dry studios, Stewart had to wear the same deep sea gear her character would wear on the job. Those were so heavy that even when she needed to get out, she experienced delays.

Kristen Stewart in Underwater
Kristen Stewart | Alan Markfield/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

“A 100 lb. suit takes like 20 minutes to get out of once you decide you can’t take it anymore,” Stewart said in the bonus features. “You’re like, ‘I’m tapping out.’ Cool, 30 minutes later you’re actually walking around again. It was impossible to regulate your body temperature.”

Kristen Stewart had to make peace with moving slowly 

Those bulky suits are designed to protect you when you’re at the ocean floor, where you don’t expect a lot of mobility. In an exciting movie, director William Eubank sometimes wanted Stewart to move faster than the suits allowed.

“It was impossible to move, go anywhere,” Stewart said. “Like there was just nothing, especially trying to take direction and make a scene better. When the direction is like, ‘Do you think you could do it any faster?’ [I’d say], ‘Honestly ,absolutely not. I would do anything to move faster. I cannot.”

Faking ‘Underwater’

Underwater movies like The Abyss had to film underwater or in water tanks. Now technology allows filmmakers to keep the crew dry and add water effects later. That added new challenges to walking on dry land as if Stewart was at the bottom of the ocean.

“What they did technically was put us on wires in the suits to take a little bit of weight off of our shoulders so we could walk with an implied buoyancy,” Stewart said. “We had this suspended walk. I was always like, ‘There’s no way this looks okay. We’re pretending we’re walking in water.”

Underwater: Kristen Stewart
Kristen Stewart | Alan Markfield/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

The trick is to change the camera speed so that it doesn’t look like the actors are walking in normal air. 

“With a particular frame rate he was able to tie them together and make it look like we were genuinely submerged,” Stewart said.

Kristen Stewart didn’t have to fake being scared

Stewart was not really underwater, and the creatures, the clingers, were not real either. Visual effects artists created them later. Still, there was enough going on to put Stewart in Norah’s situation so she didn’t have to fake it. 

Kristen Stewart and Vincent Cassell
Kristen Stewart and Vincent Cassell | Alan Markfield/Twentieth Century Fox Film Corportion

It was not hard to do the movie in terms of trying to fantasize and play pretend. It was hard to do the movie because it was scary and it was genuine. I was hanging off a really sharp, cumbersome object and I couldn’t move and I had a little green man running at me saying that he was going to look like a clinger. Building of tension and sense of peril and stifling claustrophobia was achieved very realistically. It was awful. Honestly, I was scared most of the time.

Kristen Stewart, Underwater bonus features