When the actress with the most box office success signs up to collaborate with the filmmaker that enjoys the same status, it becomes big news very quickly – and so, we have The Dive. The project has been on James Cameron’s back-burner for many years, but never really ccrystallized In 2012, the director officially vacated the helm – a move that opened the door to director Francis Lawrence, riding high after making the majority of the Hunger Games franchise. With Cameron now firmly ensconced in the producer’s chair, Francis Lawrence will shoot The Dive with his Hunger Games star Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role.
The film tells the true story of ambition and tragedy, centred on the record-breaking French free-diver, Audrey Mestre, and Francisco “Pipin” Ferreras. Having grown up in a family of diving enthusiasts, Mestre accrued vast experience in underwater sports, and studied marine biology. After meeting the famed free diver, Ferreras, he became her instructor (and eventually, her husband), and he mentored her to breaking world records in the sport, which involves diving to the greatest depths possible on a single breath of air.
Mestre attempted to set a world record in October 2002, in the Dominican Republic. After several practice dives, she began her official attempt, but an equipment problem caused her to be underwater for far longer than planned and she lost her life at the age of 28 years. Mestre was posthumously inducted into the Women Divers Hall Of Fame.
Having been in development for so long, the script has passed through the hands of a number of writers. Laeta Kalogridis (Shutter Island) is credited with the earliest draft, while J. Michael Straczynski (World War Z) produced a later version. The Wrap reports that Dana Stevens (Safe Haven) penned the most recent draft, though it has not been announced which source this project is using to base its story on.
Two of the participants in Mestre’s final dive have written books about it, but they present very different versions of the event. The Last Attempt is by dive co-organizer Carlos Serra, and essentially alleges that the actions of Ferreras led to the accidental death of his wife. However, Ferreras wrote his own book – The Dive: A Story of Love and Obsession – that sought to tell the story of Mestre.
The book by Ferreras has not been confirmed as the source material for The Dive but, given that Cameron filmed the free diver undertaking the Dominican Republic dive in tribute to his late wife, it is a safe bet that his is the viewpoint the film is likely to adopt. The question now remains as to who will play the role of Ferreras – the Cuban husband of Mestre, twelve years her senior. With Jennifer Lawrence and her Hunger Games director now on board, that casting is expected soon.