25 Things You Didn’t Know About 1998’s ‘King Kong Prequel’ Deep Rising

Written and directed by Stephen Sommers (who went on to make The Mummy), Deep Rising is a fun but grisly blend of action and horror. The film sees a luxury cruise liner besieged by heavily armed thieves, only for the criminals to unexpectedly find themselves under attack from a mysterious and deadly threat. Here are some facts about this sea-faring creature feature that you might not have known.


The film was originally entitled Tentacle

Deep Rising is the fourth feature film made by American writer-director Stephen Sommers.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

As a horror movie geared towards older viewers, the film was a step in a different direction for Sommers.

gettyimages 50797918 scaled 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Credit: Kevin Winter/Getty Images

His previous films had included the more family-friendly The Adventures of Huck Finn and Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

When Sommers began working on the script in the mid-90s, he didn’t entitle the project Deep Rising.

81lJdzdRwiL. RI e1620655366694 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Instead, Sommers’ original working title was Tentacle – a more clear reflection of the film’s central threat.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

It’s not hard to see why it was instead decided to give the film a more ambiguous, largely spoiler-free title.

The film’s budget was slashed when Harrison Ford turned down the lead role

MV5BMTY2MjQ4NzczNl5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMDU4NTUwNw@@. V1 SY1000 CR0015961000 AL e1619779763425 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

The male lead in Deep Rising is John Finnegan, the morally flexible captain who offers his services to criminals.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Stephen Sommers wrote the role with a well-established loveable rogue in mind: Harrison Ford.

han solo harrison ford star wars empire strikes back 1145526 1280x0 1 e1620655122470 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

When Ford was in the frame to take the role, studio interest in the project increased – and along with it, the budget.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Unfortunately for Sommers, Ford wound up turning down Deep Rising. Naturally, this had a knock-on effect for the film overall.

deep4 e1620655030822 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

With Ford gone, concern from financial backers saw the film’s budget greatly reduced to $45 million.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

The role of Finnegan was instead taken by Treat Williams, a seasoned actor but a considerably smaller name than Ford.

Claire Forlani was originally cast as Trillian, but left the movie three days in

claire forlani 245820 e1619779847377 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

With Treat Williams cast as Finnegan, the next order of business was casting female lead Trillian St. James.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

British actress Claire Forlani (of The Rock and Mallrats) was originally cast as the sly thief and con artist.

forlani e1620655488580 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

However, Forlani would only spend three days on the Deep Rising set before leaving the production.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Reports vary as to just what transpired, and whether Forlani quit or was fired from the movie.

25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Either way it seems that the actress and director Stephen Sommers did not see eye to eye.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

1998 would instead see Forlani appear opposite Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black; roles in Mystery Men and Boys and Girls followed.

Famke Janssen almost wasn’t cast in Forlani’s place over concerns she was too famous

hqfok0rvnnjz7tmpsrsc5s0iuyq e1619779915466 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

With Claire Forlani out of the picture, Deep Rising needed a new leading lady at very short notice.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Ultimately the role was taken by Famke Janssen, although this had been a matter of some contention.

deeprising2 e1620655738889 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

After Harrison Ford turned the film down, it had been decided that Deep Rising should have a cast of comparative unknowns.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

With this in mind, some were concerned that Janssen was too big a star because of her role in GoldenEye.

77893 full e1620655827713 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Janssen proved to be one of the comparatively few ‘Bond girl’ actresses to enjoy a very successful career beyond Bond.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Her biggest break came in 2000 when she was cast as Jean Grey in X-Men, a role she would reprise several times.

The film was shot in a giant water tank in Vancouver because Los Angeles was too expensive

MV5BNTA2MjA4ZDktOGI4Yy00MjYwLWIwYzYtNGJmMTdjOGVlNjQ0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDQwMTQ5ODk@. V1 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

As might be expected of any Hollywood movie, originally the plan was to shoot Deep Rising locally in Los Angeles.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

However, the filmmakers were trying to pull off an ambitious, large-scale movie on a comparatively limited budget, so they needed to cut a few corners financially.

large deep rising 21 blu ray e1620656135663 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

As Deep Rising is set entirely at sea, the filmmakers needed to shoot much of the film in a water tank.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

However, they found they were unable to rent any such facility in LA for less than $200,000.

deeprising6 e1620656217102 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

For this reason, the filmmakers instead moved the production to a far cheaper equivalent in Vancouver, Canada.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Ironically, this tank wound up bursting and flooding nearby housing, a misfortune that ultimately cost the film $600,000.

The special effects took so long that the film’s release was delayed by over a year

deeprisingososos 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

As you’ll know if you’ve seen Stephen Sommers’ later movies (most famously The Mummy and The Mummy Returns), the director really likes CGI.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Sommers and his crew utilised this SFX technology extensively on Deep Rising, primarily for the sea monster sequences.

Particularly back in the 90s, producing high-quality CGI was a costly and time-consuming business.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

This became an issue on Deep Rising, as so much needed to be added digitally in post-production that it delayed the film’s release.

large deep rising 05 blu ray e1620656337942 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Part of the problem was that at first Hollywood Pictures wanted Deep Rising’s CGI to be handled exclusively by Disney’s in-house computer animators.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

When it became clear that Disney’s team couldn’t manage the job alone, famed SFX company Industrial Light & Magic were hired to help complete the film.

Famke Janssen hated having to play another role that focused on her beauty

MV5BMGM5ODliY2EtYWJjNy00ZjgxLWI3MzEtYzQzZGFkNDA2MmU4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMjQwMjk0NjI@. V1 e1619781632735 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

As a model-turned-actress, Famke Janssen was accustomed to being cast with her looks in mind.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Even so, by the time of Deep Rising, the Dutch performer had been in the business more than five years.

large deep rising 08 blu ray e1620656378140 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

As a result of this, she had reportedly grown tired of being hired simply to look pretty all the time.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Janssen is said to have complained on-set about the clothing and make-up she was given for Trillian, as she felt the character should be more down to earth.

MV5BMDMyZDE3NjEtNzM3Yy00MmVkLTkxZGEtMzU3NTg3OTJmMWQ4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDQwMTQ5ODk@. V1 e1619781934122 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Director Stephen Sommers reportedly told Janssen should could look any way she wants when she isn’t playing the romantic lead in a movie.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Still, it’s possible this may have been a factor in why Trillian changes from her glamorous red dress to a simple shirt and jeans later in the film.

The film was almost re-cut for a PG-13 rating

large deep rising 19 blu ray e1620656664213 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Deep Rising is not necessarily a film to be watched with all the family.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

There are a number of grisly death scenes, not to mention frequent use of profanity.

large deep rising 22 blu ray e1620656963686 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Even so, at one point production house Hollywood Pictures attempted to tone the film down for a PG-13 rating.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

However, it eventually became clear that the film simply wouldn’t work with its R-rated content excised, so these plans were abandoned.

large deep rising 17 blu ray e1620656765434 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Editor Bob Ducsay referred to this attempt at a PG-13 cut of Deep Rising as a “Vietnam mission” (i.e. a lot of time and effort toward an insurmountable goal).

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Just about every movie Stephen Sommers has made since (The Mummy movies, Van Helsing, GI Joe) have been rated PG-13.

The ending was originally meant to set up a King Kong reboot

deep rising 4 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

At the end of Deep Rising, the few survivors to escape the doomed cruise liner are washed up on the sandy beach of a small island.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

In the film’s final moments, they hear an almighty roar, suggesting their monster-fighting adventures are far from over.

25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

The idea was that they had landed on Skull Island, and it was hoped that this would set the scene for a King Kong reboot which Stephen Sommers would write and direct.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

However, Sommers instead went on to make The Mummy, and the King Kong remake spent a few years in development.

EB20051212REVIEWS51203002AR 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Eventually, Peter Jackson would direct the (second) King Kong remake for Universal Pictures in 2005.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

More recently, Warner Bros and Legendary have produced two movies starring the iconic giant ape – Kong: Skull Island and Godzilla vs. Kong.

Kevin J. O’Connor ad-libbed many of his lines

20110809100634230 e1620727312978 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Taking sidekick duties on Deep Rising is Kevin J. O’Connor as Joey Pantucci, Finnegan’s first mate.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

This was the Chicago-born actor’s first collaboration with director Stephen Sommers (although he had previously co-starred with Deep Rising leading lady Famke Janssen in Lord of Illusions).

deeprising7 e1620727347884 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Sommers took a shine to O’Connor, and has remarked that he was delighted by the lines of dialogue the actor improvised during the shoot.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

O’Connor came up with a number of humorous asides, such as when Joey asks if a person can “suddenly get asthma.”

MV5BYWZjZGI2MTctYWE3ZC00YTI5LWE3M2YtYWRkZTcwMDI3OWNkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMzU1NjQwNjk@. V1 e1620727401266 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

The actor got along so well with Stephen Sommers that the writer-director would give him roles in later films.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

O’Connor would play key antagonist Beni in The Mummy, Igor in Van Helsing, and Doctor Mindbender in GI Joe: Rise of Cobra.

There were over 400 extras on set for the early cruise liner sequence

For the most part, Deep Rising centres on a fairly small ensemble of under a dozen characters exploring the cruise liner.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

At the very beginning, though, there are a whole lot more people on board the luxurious ship.

large deep rising 01 blu ray e1620721659301 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

To shoot this early sequence, the filmmakers had to bring in more than 400 extras.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Capturing all the footage they needed with this large amount of people took the crew five days.

MV5BNjU3ZGYyMTktNjc3MS00YzgwLWE4ZDAtMDliMTMzNGY1ZjA4XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDQwMTQ5ODk@. V1 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Unfortunately, one minor slip-up in the shooting of this sequence found its way into the final film.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Watch closely, and you may notice that when Simon Canton (Anthony Heald) gives his big speech, there’s a moment when the boom mike operator is visible.

Kevin J. O’Connor wound up heavily bruised from the scene where he gets beat up

Deep Rising 01 e1620727898484 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

As we’ve seen time and again, making action-oriented movies can be a hazardous business for cast and crew.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Actor Kevin J. O’Connor found this out the hard way shooting a particularly rough scene for Deep Rising.

d768dfaa69886c38598b7769c1d647d976f640a1r1 1396 991v2 hq 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

One particularly dark scene sees O’Connor’s Joey knocked down, kicked and punched by the mob of mercenaries.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

For the actor’s safety, he was given a lot of padding to wear underneath his costume.

large deep rising 02 blu ray e1620727780750 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Unfortunately, this didn’t entirely do the trick, as O’Connor wound up covered in bruises afterwards.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Director Stephen Sommers has said that he felt “horrible” about the incident and was hugely apologetic to O’Connor.

The film’s release was pushed back to avoid clashes with Con Air and Starship Troopers

large deep rising 07 blu ray e1620658460674 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Had things originally gone to plan, Deep Rising would have been released to cinemas in the summer of 1997.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

However, Deep Rising was a Disney production, and the studio had another big R-rated movie coming out at the same time.

con air h 1997 928x523 1 e1617284248715 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

That film was Con Air, the legendarily ridiculous prisoners-on-a-plane action movie starring Nicolas Cage.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

It was feared that opening Deep Rising at the same time might dent Con Air’s box office chances (which turned out to be a very respectable $224 million).

2853 e1620659442460 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Later, Deep Rising was set to open in November – but once again, there was another major R-rated movie opening that month, Starship Troopers.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Starship Troopers wasn’t so successful, earning $121.2 million off a budget upwards of $100 million – but that’s still way better business than Deep Rising wound up doing.

The film was destroyed at the box office by Titanic

deep rising ver1 xlg e1620657270872 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

While Deep Rising’s release date had been changed multiple times to avoid clashes with other R-rated action movies, no one had expected what happened next.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Hollywood Pictures wound up releasing the film to US cinemas in January 1998 – when a certain other movie set on a ship was still on screens.

12w3 e1602663660549 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

That movie was of course James Cameron’s Titanic, which had unexpectedly become a blockbuster of unprecedented proportions.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Even though the romantic disaster movie had been in cinemas for almost three months when Deep Rising opened, it was still dominating the box office.

vAZ03hY2xTfAnunQsQEnDMmxK2D e1619781689231 1 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Titanic proved an insurmountable obstacle (you might even say an iceberg) to Deep Rising; Stephen Sommers’ film wound up grossing a mere $11.2 million.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

As for Titanic, it became the biggest box office hit ever at the time, and the very first film to earn upwards of $1 billion.

The marketing campaign centred on the special effects artists

large deep rising 03 blu ray e1620659306475 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Deep Rising did not boast any major stars in its cast (sorry, Treat Williams), nor was director Stephen Sommers that well known at the time.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

This, it seems, left those in charge of marketing the film at a bit of a loss for an angle.

large deep rising 06 blu ray e1620659380429 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Ultimately, the decision was made to sell Deep Rising on the strength of its special effects work.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

We’re used to seeing the names of actors at the top of a poster, but one Deep Rising poster instead sported the words, ‘From the Special Effect Team who made Total Recall and Star Wars.”

tumblr m0zyocvrrs1rne776o1 1280 e1620658995416 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

True enough, Deep Rising’s FX team included Rob Bottin, who won an Oscar for his work on Total Recall. Bottin’s other credits include The Thing and RoboCop.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Meanwhile, the CGI effects in the movie were largely handled by George Lucas’ SFX company Industrial Light and Magic.

The film’s box office failure sank a production company

deep rising ver5 xlg e1620657199669 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

While distributed by the Disney-owned Hollywood Pictures, Deep Rising was produced by production company Cinergi.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Cinergi was founded by producer Andrew G. Vajna, who had previously co-founded mini-studio Carolco Pictures.

maxresdefault 25 e1620726365748 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

While Cinergi produced such hits as Tombstone and Die Hard with a Vengeance, the company were also responsible for some notorious flops.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Cinergi were behind expensive failures Super Mario Bros and Judge Dredd – and having yet another money-loser in Deep Rising didn’t help their fortunes.

81P6ZzRRhXL. RI e1620726638203 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

The final nail in the coffin was their next release, the disastrous Burn Hollywood Burn: An Alan Smithee Film.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

When this critically reviled comedy made a truly abysmal $53,000 at the box office, Cinergi folded in mid-1998.

Roger Ebert declared it one of his most hated movies

Roger Ebert e1620823360982 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Credit: Sound Opinions via Wikimedia Commons

In recent years, many fans and critics have hailed Deep Rising as one of the best monster movies of the 90s.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

However, back when the movie was first released in 1998, it was a rather different story.

image 4 e1620823432501 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

With only a few exceptions, the initial reviews that Deep Rising received were overwhelmingly negative.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Stephen Sommers’ film got a particularly venomous welcome from one of the most influential American critics: Roger Ebert.

The famed and respected movie reviewer listed Deep Rising among his most hated films of that year. (Ebert touches on the film at the 4:21 mark in the above video.)

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Despite the cult status Deep Rising enjoys today, it still has a low Rotten Tomatoes score: 28% from critics, and 43% from audiences.

Kevin J. O’Connor’s character originally died, but he was kept alive after test audiences objected

deeprisingkino3801 e1620823607804 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

It would seem that writer-director Stephen Sommers wasn’t the only one to develop a soft spot for Kevin J. O’Connor in Deep Rising.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Originally, O’Conner’s Joey Pantucci was not intended to survive the monster battle on the Argonautica.

kjo e1620823935649 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

However, test audiences loved the character, and voiced their displeasure when he was killed off.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

This prompted a rethink, and a reshoot, to make Joey a survivor alongside Treat Williams’ Finnegan and Famke Janssen’s Trillian.

deeprisingkino5030 e1620823641806 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

In the years since Deep Rising, Kevin J. O’Connor has not only enjoyed further collaborations with director Stephen Sommers, but also with acclaimed filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

The actor has taken supporting roles in both Anderson’s There Will Be Blood and The Master.

Treat Williams described the making of the movie as “fun, fun, fun”

disney DER0NNG2 Full Image GalleryBackground en GB 1585124636821. RI e1620824219372 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Treat Williams is said to have summed up his experience on Deep Rising in three words: “Fun, fun fun!”

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

The 1998 movie is one of the few big budget films to have given Williams a leading role.

backdrop 1920 1 e1620823884275 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Born in Connecticut in 1951, Williams broke into acting through theatre, appearing in Grease and other musicals on Broadway.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

He broke into movies in the late 70s, with roles in Hair and Steven Spielberg’s widely forgotten misfire 1941.

image 5 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Williams has tended to specialise in supporting roles, with parts in Once Upon a Time in America, Things to Do in Denver When You’re Dead and the bad guy role in The Phantom.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Williams’ only other notable leading action man role has been in three direct-to-DVD sequels to 1996 thriller The Substitute.

The edited-for-TV version makes Stephen Sommers cry

MV5BNDkzMjQyOWQtMWI2OS00ODBlLWJkOTMtMWZhNWJiZmVhM2JkXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTE4MDg3NTIz. V1 e1620824107180 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Pretty much all filmmakers have to deal with seeing their vision compromised to some degree for the sake of commerce.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

On the Blu-ray commentary for Deep Rising, Stephen Sommers remarks that he’s delighted the film’s home entertainment releases avoid that.

deep rising 1 e1620824452259 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

The writer-director notes that, when Deep Rising is shown on US television, it’s in a significantly different cut.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

For one thing, the film’s content is censored, which naturally hurts the film (hence the filmmakers ditched their attempts at a PG-13 cut).

deeprisingkino1318 e1620824556525 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

In addition, cuts are also made to allow space for commercial breaks; so overall, Deep Rising’s TV version runs about 30 minutes shorter.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Sommers remarked that screenings of this condensed version are “good for my pocketbook, but it makes me cry sometimes.”

The film was supposed to begin with an epic underwater sequence

deeprisingkino13527 e1620823843884 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Writer-director Stephen Sommers had always hoped to make Deep Rising the biggest monster movie he could on a limited budget.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

However, time and money constraints meant that this ambitious vision had to pared back somewhat.

hbo svod HB2PV Full Image GalleryBackground en US 1570432191678. RI e1620824360550 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Until late in the day, the film was originally going to open with a large-scale underwater sequence.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Well into the post-production process, this sequence (the details of which have not been disclosed) was still part of the film.

deeprisingkino11831 e1620824079415 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Unfortunately, with multiple teams of CGI artists working overtime and deadlines looming, the underwater opening had to be scrapped.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Several cast members went on to appear in Marvel movies

MV5BYWEwNzllZmItNTlhOS00YjJjLTg4MDAtNDYxYWYxZGJiMWEzXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDQwMTQ5ODk@. V1 e1620724954101 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Within a few years of Deep Rising’s release, Marvel comic book adaptations became the next big thing at the box office.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Small wonder, then, that a good few members of Deep Rising’s cast would go on to appear in Marvel movies.

ac71f7ae0a7bcc5368daf3a127b4e64b 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

The most famous of these is of course Famke Janssen, who played Jean Grey in X-Men and several of its sequels.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Also, Djimon Hounsou would appear as Korath in Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel.

large deep rising 09 blu ray e1620724846326 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Meanwhile, Leila actress Una Damon would go on to make an uncredited appearance in 2002’s Spider-Man, as the scientist who gives Peter Parker’s class a tour of the laboratory that houses the super-spiders.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

In addition, Derrick O’Connor would appear as Father Everett in 2003’s Daredevil, and Jason Flemyng as Azazel in X-Men: First Class.

The character of Captain Atherton was named after the film’s cinematographer

MV5BMjM3MTAzOTg4NV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNjg2OTIwMjE@. V1 scaled e1620726854441 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Deep Rising co-stars the late Irish actor Derrick O’Connor (above right) as Captain H.W. Atherton, captain of cruise liner the Argonautica.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Writer-director Stephen Sommers named the character in honour of one of the key members of his crew.

MV5BNzZmYWEwNjgtMmU1Zi00ZmVhLTk4MWMtODE2NmZhNjQ1ODVjXkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyNDQwMTQ5ODk@. V1 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Credit: Hollywood Pictures

The character is named after Howard Atherton, who was Deep Rising’s director of photography.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

The other credits of British-born cinematographer Atherton include Fatal Attraction, Mermaids, Indecent Proposal and Bad Boys.

2015100500002661 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Credit: Hollywood Pictures

Atherton has said that Deep Rising was an unusual professional experience for him, as he got on very well with Sommers.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

The cinematographer remarked that he tends to thrive off tension between himself and the director, but this didn’t happen on Deep Rising because he liked Sommers too much.

Famke Janssen’s character takes her name from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Deep Rising 1998 2 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Anyone who’s seen Deep Rising will no doubt have noticed that Famke Janssen’s character has a somewhat unusual name.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

The sharp-witted and gutsy thief has the attention-grabbing moniker of Trillian St. James.

91TpAAdiBLL e1620728253927 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

It’s possible that some viewers have never heard the name Trillian before – whilst others might be wondering where they know it from.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Writer-director Stephen Sommers borrowed the name from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.

screen shot 2018 09 16 at 12 31 25 pm e1620728157281 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

British writer Douglas Adams’ classic science fiction comedy (which was first a radio play, then a novel, then a TV show) features a character named Trillian.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Trillian was portrayed by Sandra Dickinson in the 1981 Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV series, and later by Zooey Deschanel in the 2005 movie.

Director Stephen Sommers would reunite with composer Jerry Goldsmith on The Mummy

Deep Rising was the first time that director Stephen Sommers worked with composer Jerry Goldsmith.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

After starting out in TV in the 50s, Goldsmith became one of the most esteemed composers of film scores in the business.

Jerry goldsmith conducts e1620727175553 25 Things You Didn't Know About 1998's 'King Kong Prequel' Deep Rising

Credit: Frantisek Fuka via Wikimedia Commons

Throughout his illustrious career Goldsmith earned 17 Oscar nominations, winning only once for The Omen.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Sommers was clearly pleased with Goldsmith’s work on Deep Rising, as he hired the composer again on his next movie.

Goldsmith provided the score for Sommers’ best-loved film The Mummy, although he sat out sequel The Mummy Returns.

Sadly, the composer passed away from cancer in July 2004, at the age of 75.