Blake Lively is fighting for her life in her new movie, The Shallows, which should put off fans from wading into open waters ever again. The movie finds Lively as Nancy, a young woman surfing on an idyllic, secluded beach when she is attacked by a a vicious shark. Alone and only 200 yards from the shore, Nancy has to find a way to get to the beach before the shark makes her his dinner. Billed as a new shark-tastic thriller, the movie wreaks of ripped-from-the-headlines death, but luckily, The Shallows isn't based on a true story, so Nancy's fate remains unknown. Still, in a fight that pits woman versus shark, I'm not sure I would bet against the shark.
Before Lively was attached to the movie, when The Shallows was just a spec script known as Into the Deep, Deadline reported that industry insiders considered the movie reminiscent of 127 Hours (based on a true story) and Jaws (based on a book). It makes sense, then, that the film be a bit of a mix between fact and fiction. One true life element that contributed to the story, according to Lively, is global warming. In an interview with Marie Claire , Lively explained that the whole plot is really driven by global warming, which has allowed sharks to venture closer to shore. "Because of climate change and global warming, what was once in the deep is now in the shallows," she said.
Lively expanded on this during an appearance on Today , saying, "Because of global warming, sharks are pushed closer to shore. She's attached, and you think of a shark attack being in the deep ocean. But it's almost scarier when the shore is right there and it's just so close." Global warming has, in fact, been linked to an increase in shark attacks, as rising temperatures force sharks to move closer to shore in an attempt to find comfortable water.
After North Carolina experienced a string of shark attacks in the summer of 2015, National Geographic ran a piece that linked increased shark attacks to higher temperatures in the ocean and higher salt values in the water, both a result of global warming (climate change can lead to droughts, which in turn means less rainwater that can dilute the salinity of ocean water near shores). According to the director of the International Shark Attack File at the Florida Museum of Natural History, George H. Burgess, sharks enjoy higher temperatures (80 degrees Fahrenheit), and saltier water. That said, no direct causality has been proven. Furthermore, it's worth noting that shark attacks were already somewhat more common in shallow waters than deep ocean.
The Shallows might not be directly based on a true story, but there's no doubt that it could be, so next time you're thinking about paddling out into the ocean by yourself, think of whether or not you want to end up like Lively.
Images: Sony Pictures Entertainment