SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL
Starring Sandra Bullock, Jason Patric, Willem Dafoe, Temeura Morrison, Tim Conway
Director Jan De Bont
Opens June 13
A word of advice: if you ever see Sandra Bullock boarding a plane, train, or automobile near you, turn around and run like hell. Speed’s runaway bus made her an out- of-control superstar, and now with Speed 2: Cruise Control, Bullock’s bringing her bad travel karma to the high seas. She and costar Jason Patric, who plays Alex, her new boyfriend (Speed’s Keanu Reeves was offered the chance to reprise his role, but declined) are caught in the middle of a diabolical plot (masterminded by Dafoe) to take over a cruise ship, a plot that — you guessed it — sends the ship of vacationing fools careering toward terra firma.
”You could say these characters of mine don’t exactly have the best luck,” says Bullock. True, but they’re not sniveling victims, either. ”There’s never a dull moment with Sandy’s Speed character,” says director Jan De Bont. ”This time, she’s running and jumping and crashing and jet-skiing and swimming like crazy to save her life.”
All of which made for treacherous working conditions, particularly since De Bont prefers that his stars do as many stunts as possible (”He made me do everything but actually fly the plane,” Dafoe says). Bullock, who says a near drowning as a child made her deathly afraid of water, was terrified when she encountered rough seas. ”It wasn’t a good day,” she says. And Patric was nearly put out of commission when his motorcycle rolled down a steep hill. ”I came as close as I’ve ever come to meeting my Maker,” he says.
Of course, that’s just the stuff that looks good on film, and De Bont worked hard to capture it all, using as many as 15 cameras for one sequence (directors typically use four at most). Instead of using miniatures or computerized images for the climactic scene of the boat’s crash into the island of St. Martin, De Bont built a 50-foot-tall, 600,000-pound replica of the ship that was pulled on rails by a diesel engine through the isle. ”Imagine the biggest logistical nightmare of your life,” he says. ”Then multiply it by about 100. It was the kind of thing we didn’t want to do twice.”
As for the new leading man, Patric says he has no problem filling Reeves’ shoes. (”I don’t think most people can even recall the name of that character,” he says. ”It wasn’t like I had to step in as Indiana Jones. I had no hesitation taking over.”) That said, Patric admits he’s not eager to jump back into the deep anytime soon. ”Being wet for five months sucked. You’ll never see me in water in a movie again, not even in a shower.” UPSIDE Speed and Twister proved that De Bont can probably make an out-of-control tricycle look interesting. DOWNSIDE Wayward cruise ships aren’t half as threatening as riding an L.A. public bus.