In a recent interview with The Location Guide, McWilliams talked working with Howard and the beauty of the Canary Islands, which line the coast of Morocco.
The islands, which served as an 1820’s Ecuadorian coastline in the film, were to McWilliams, a perfect location. “It was a location scout’s dream,” McWilliams said. “Beaches and islands, Spanish beer and Palma ham were on my mind as I left London town behind, bound for the warm shores of the Canaries. Upon arrival, I asked the Spanish location scout Yanira de Armas-Tosco about what I could actually expect from La Gomera. ‘It’s very small – we never shoot there, apart from aerial stuff,’ she replied. ‘It has beautiful forests and we did some stuff there for Clash of the Titans, but only with a small crew. It’s really a place to go on holiday.’”
One roadblock that McWilliams had to face was trying to get a weather back-up plan into the budget. “One of the greatest challenges as a Location Manager, in any remote place, is convincing the producers to have a back-up plan, to spend money on an insurance policy in the event of bad weather,” McWilliams said. “The Canary Islands are remote and generally sunny, but bad weather always follows a movie and when I see an ‘Exterior’ day on the schedule with no weather plan, I am always very nervous.”
McWilliams believes that director Howard was an ideal match for capturing such a picturesque setting. “Ron Howard, an amazing filmmaker, director and human being, picked up on the atmosphere, the light and the opportunities,” McWilliams stated. “On his first scout he took photos of La Gomera and posted them on Twitter.” (The Location Guide)
In the Heart of the Sea hits theaters in March of 2015.