In continuing Shark Week coverage here at FishChannel.com, we have decided for the most part to not focus on the pseudo-science and instead focus on the science.
Actor Paul Walker, who died in November 2013 in a car crash, was an advocate of marine conservation and for the last 10 years before his death, joined marine scientist Dr. Michael Domeier on great white shark expeditions.
Walker’s last expedition involved tagging a female shark named Gil Rakers and the documentary was to hopefully focus on capturing Gil Rakers giving birth, which had never before been seen as not a whole lot is known about the birthing process of the shark or even where the pupping grounds are located.
Paul Walker was an advocate for marine conservation and was especially interested in the great white shark. Photo courtesy Discovery Channel
Production of the episode, Spawn of Jaws: The Birth, had just begun production when Walker died, and Domeier told Entertainment Weekly that he was unsure if he was going to finish the documentary. But he surmised that Walker would want the film finished so he carried on without his good friend.
According to the EW report, Domeier at first didn’t want to have any part of Paul Walker coming onto his boat and following him around as he conducted real science. He told EW that when he was working on a project for the National Geographic Channel, a production company brought Paul onto the boat and the first thing that came to Domeier’s mind was ratings grab. An extremely popular actor and movie star and great white sharks, what more could the ratings chasers ask for?
But then Domeier realized on their second trip on the boat that Paul was not a distraction but was the real deal, genuinely interested in the science of the great white shark. Domeier told EW that Walker was an incessant texter, asking when he could join him on his research vessel. Domeier also told EW that at one point, Walker told him in a phone conversation that he wanted to quit acting, go back to school (Walker studied marine biology before the acting bug got him) and work full time researching these amazing animals. Domeier urged Walker not to quit acting and told him that he could use his celebrity in such a way to promote marine conservation that no scientist ever could.
The full interview is on the Entertainment Weekly website.
Spawn of Jaws: The Birth, premieres August 13 at 10 p.m. ET on Discovery.