Pure Steel: Naples father and son behind the scenes of many blockbusters like latest Superman flick

Lance Julian is seen speaking with other crew members aboard Debbie Sue, the crabbing boat they used to film water scenes for 'Man of Steel.'

Lance Julian is seen speaking with other crew members aboard Debbie Sue, the crabbing boat they used to film water scenes for "Man of Steel."

We all know that Superman can easily leap skyscrapers, is faster than a ballistic missile and stronger than a bullet train, but did you know that the “Man of Steel” is a pretty nice guy, too.

Well, he is, says Naples resident Lance Julian and his son Harry Julian.

Captains Lance and Harry Julian, left to right, show off the mulititude of badges they have collected over the years working on films like 'Titanic,' 'Hangover Part II,' and reality-based shows like 'Survivor.' 
  
 Jay Schlichter/Staff

Captains Lance and Harry Julian, left to right, show off the mulititude of badges they have collected over the years working on films like "Titanic," "Hangover Part II," and reality-based shows like "Survivor." Jay Schlichter/Staff

Actually, the two have only met Harry Cavill, who stars as the comic book hero in the upcoming blockbuster, which the New Zealand natives had a hand in getting to the big screen.

The father and son team, who own Naples-based Marine Team International, have met a lot of other “powerful” people, thanks to many years of working on dozens of films and reality TV shows with some of the most well-known stars, directors and producers around. That includes folks like James Cameron, Steven Spielberg, Dino De Laurentiis, Harrison Ford, Kevin Costner and Gina Davis, just to name a few.

If you go

“Pure Steel,”

What: A behind the scenes look into the filming of “Man of Steel” with Captains Lance and Harry Julian

When: 6 to 8 p.m. June 13

Where: Bell Tower Shops, 13499 U.S. 41, Fort Myers

Like their company name implies, Marine Team provides a unique set of skills that some filmmakers need — the ability to shoot scenes either on the water, underwater or at least near a body of water, but most importantly, to do it safely.

That is where the Julians come in. Combined, the duo have decades of experience as ship captains, with multiple licenses, credentials and certificates to their names. The two, who moved from New Zealand to the United States in the late 1980s, come from a long-line of ship captains. Specifically, their fathers and grandfathers started out in the tugboat business, but the latest Julians found their way into the film industry with “Waterworld.”

They were tasked with providing tugboats for the 1995 film, but all of a sudden, they were needed to help on the production side as well. The rest, as they proudly say, is history.

For “Man of Steel,” Lance Julian was asked by Lloyd Phillips, an executive producer of the film who recently passed away, to provide them with an actual crabbing boat and all of its normal trimmings — like crab pots and experienced crabbers — and then to find a suitable location where the seas would be high and wild. Essentially, something along the lines of “Deadliest Catch.”

In the movie, which premieres June 14, Cavill spends time as a crab fisherman and can be seen aboard a ship with waves crashing over the edge. That much is clear in the movie trailers.

But don’t ask the Julians for any other details. They are under contract to stay as tight lipped about it as a bank vault, or at least until the film starts rolling. But that is common practice with all of the films they have worked on.

“This was one of the most amazing films to work on,” Lance Julian said. “We weren’t given a full script. It was all very secretive... We were just told to get a crabbing boat out into rough seas. The director (Zach Snyder) wanted people to get seasick.”

Snyder was looking for authenticity, said Lance Julian, which he added is somewhat rare these days, since they are constantly competing with companies that can do films and certain scenes much cheaper and faster using green screens and computer animation.

The filming took place on waters just offshore of Vancouver during a 5-day period in September 2011, but it took Lance Julian roughly two months to get the boats, equipment and manpower secured in preparation of the shoot.

Henry Cavill stars as Superman in the upcoming action adventure 'Man of Steel.' Naples residents Lance and Harry Julian were responsible for the water scenes in the movie and have helped produce about 50 other films and reality-based TV shows.

Photo by Clay Enos

Henry Cavill stars as Superman in the upcoming action adventure "Man of Steel." Naples residents Lance and Harry Julian were responsible for the water scenes in the movie and have helped produce about 50 other films and reality-based TV shows.

In addition to providing the tools so filmmakers and their crew can get the right shot, one of the main tasks the Julians have to worry about on each film is safety — especially that of the stars, like Cavill.

“Our job was to make sure he stayed afloat,” Lance Julian said with a smile.

On a few other famous films they worked on, like “Quantum of Solace” and “U-571,” Harry Julian said they had to teach Daniel Craig (starring as James Bond) and Matthew McConaughey (who portrayed Lt. Andrew Tyler) how to drive boats.

“Water safety is paramount. If somebody puts a foot in the wrong spot,” Harry Julian said, not needing to finish the sentence. “On ‘Man of Steel,’ we had to call it off one day because of poor weather conditions.”

The company has received plenty of accolades for their instruction and efforts to keep the actors safe and sound.

Kate Hudson, who played Tess in “Fool’s Gold,” thanked the Julians after diving for the first time with help from a Marine Team dive crew.

Lance Julian shows off a hat that Steven Spielberg signed and wrote 'stained with loyalty' after the two worked together on 'Amistad.'

Lance Julian shows off a hat that Steven Spielberg signed and wrote "stained with loyalty" after the two worked together on "Amistad."

“When I had my first real dive,” she said, “I was terrified to get into the water, but the marine crew and all the dive masters were amazing. And once you get down there, it’s just incredible. I mean, to be able to do my first dive on the Great Barrier Reef is mind-blowing. The sea life is phenomenal. It was like being in a whole other world. Now I’m in love with diving; I can’t wait to get back in the water.”

When the duo worked with Toby Pease, an assistant director on HBO’s miniseries “The Pacific,” they were asked to find vessels to recreate World War II amphibious assaults and beach landings on Guadalcanal, Peleliu and Pavuvu. They found the real thing, actual military boats from the era.

“It was magnificent to see that fleet of landing craft surge through the water,” Pease wrote in a letter to the Julians. “And it was extraordinary that your team never gave up in keeping those antiquated machines running I would not dream of taking a film near the water without you.”

The Julians also teamed up with Pease on “Fool’s Gold,” “The Thin Red Line” and the hugely successful “Titanic.”

Along with Marine Team, the Julians also own Pure Naples, a sightseeing, charter fishing and boat rental company at Tin City in downtown Naples, drawing and transporting tourists along Naples’ waterways.

Lance Julian holds his badge near Debbie Sue, the ship they used to film the 'Man of Steel' water scenes in Vancouver. The film used 'Autumn Frost' as its working title but the holographic sticker on the bottom of the badges pretty much gave away what movie the crew was working on.

Lance Julian holds his badge near Debbie Sue, the ship they used to film the "Man of Steel" water scenes in Vancouver. The film used "Autumn Frost" as its working title but the holographic sticker on the bottom of the badges pretty much gave away what movie the crew was working on.

Before the movie starts making millions upon millions at theaters worldwide, area residents can find out more about the Julians and their role in coordinating and shooting the water scenes. The two are hosting an event called Pure Steel at Bell Tower Shops on June 13, sharing behind the scenes footage and photos from the film, as well as showing off memorabilia from many of the other films they helped produce.

Those who attend will have the chance to be one of the first to see the film that night at Regal Cinemas Bell Tower, or receive one of 40 tickets being given away. There will also be super hero face painting for the kids, stilt walkers, comic books and many other giveaways, such as adventure packages for rides, fishing and sightseeing cruises from their Pure Naples company.

The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. at Bell Tower Shops, in Fort Myers at U.S. 41 and Daniels Parkway.

For more information about the Julians and their companies, visit purenaples.com or marineteam.net.

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