Badly injured and clinging to life on a destroyed boat in the aftermath of one of the biggest hurricanes in history, Shailene Woodleyand Sam Claflin‘s newest characters have helped them form a special bond.
The stars were tasked with bringing a unique love story to life when they signed on to the roles of Tami Oldham and Richard Sharp, a real engaged couple who set sail from Tahiti to San Diego, in the upcoming romance drama, Adrift. According to the film’s stirring trailer, the partners’ voyage quickly turns into a haunting nightmare when they unexpectedly hit a hurricane just weeks into their trip.
Based on Oldham’s memoir of everything that happened next, Red Sky in Mourning: A True Story of Love, Loss and Survival at Sea, the movie takes viewers into the eye of the storm with Tami and Richard as they fight to survive. As the only two characters throughout the majority of the film, the movie depended on the stars’ compatibility to carry it home. Fortunately, they got along swimmingly.
“We had to really work at it,” Claflin joked in an interview with E! News. “I went to drama school and three years of good training taught me how to pretend to like somebody.”
“I think we’re very very similar people and have very smilar beliefs and work in this very similar way and you can’t ask for a better co-star really—can you, Shailene?” he said more seriously as he turned to Woodley beside him.
“We laughed a lot and we cried a lot and we supported each other a lot,” the actress added.
While the real-life conditions of the shoot were not always ideal, Claflin’s can-do attitude propelled them forward.
“This whole process was as beautiful as it was taxing, but every time that he would show up with a big smile on his face and not complain at hour 16 or not complain when we were seasick or not complain when something went awry—not only did it inspire me, but it inspired the whole crew to stand up and work harder,” Woodley complimented her co-star.
After all, shooting a movie in open ocean in Fiji can present some difficulties, or as Claflin put it, “flavor.”
“It was grueling at times, but I think the enjoyment and the unprepredictability kind of added to the sort of intensity, helped performance, but also just made it so much more of a memorable experience,” he described.
Plus, there was this perk: “We had opportunities to kind of go swimming [on] our lunch breaks,” Claflin noted. “It just didn’t really feel like that hard of a job.”
Check out E!’s interview above to find out what Woodley found most unique about the film.
Adrift debuts in theaters on June 1.