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Terminal List 's Jeanne Tripplehorn Explains Why Making Waterworld Was an 'Extraordinary' Experience

·3-min read
Jeanne Tripplehorn - March 2022
Jeanne Tripplehorn - March 2022

Courtesy Jeanne Tripplehorn

Jeanne Tripplehorn went to great lengths for Waterworld.

The Terminal List actress, 59, looks back at her biggest career moments in this week's issue of PEOPLE, including hits like Basic Instinct, The Firm and HBO's Big Love. One film that provided Tripplehorn with tons of memories her 1995 blockbuster Waterworld, in which she costarred with Kevin Costner.

"I knew when we were doing Waterworld that it was an incredibly special film, in that we weren't doing a ton of special effects," she tells PEOPLE of the film, which was directed by Kevin Reynolds. "I mean, there are a few special effects that are actually atrocious, like the baked potato that we're floating around in toward the end. But I knew it was the last of that type of film. It was very sort of Cecil B. DeMille in that we didn't have to use a computer to generate tons of people. We had those people."

She admits the massive production was "physically taxing" to the point she'd often be "so incredibly seasick."

"I remember just to get to the set you left on one boat, then you would transfer to another boat, then you would transfer to the camera boat and then you would transfer to the actual set," recalls Tripplehorn, 59.

The actress also recounts one memorable scene she shared with Costner: "I don't even know if they would ever do this again. Kevin Costner and I, there's a scene where we're underwater and he kisses me because I'm running out of air. We actually, the first time we filmed it, we were in the ocean — we were 20 feet under, we had all the safety guys right off camera."

Tripplehorn says she "really didn't get to know" Costner, now 67, since he was "just kind of under a microscope at the time." She adds, "I know it was really difficult ... but I do appreciate later on when we were back here shooting, inviting me into the editing room to watch it being put together. And it was extraordinary."

Jeanne Tripplehorn
Jeanne Tripplehorn

Justin Lubin/Prime Video Jeanne Tripplehorn in The Terminal List

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Tripplehorn also has fond memories making Waterworld with cast mate Dennis Hopper, who died in 2010 at age 74. He even taught her how to play poker.

"I remember hanging out in Dennis's trailer. I loved him so much. He would make the strongest coffee," she recalls. "We would wait hours and hours and hours because we were dealing with filming on the ocean. Currents would change, wind would change, so you would wait for sometimes days to get the right position to be able. So we would just be in our trailers forever."

She says there were "a couple of days of sitting for hours in Dennis's trailer and him telling me his life story."

"And this was before the internet, so I knew sort of the greatest hits of Dennis, but I didn't really know his story," she continues. "He was telling me about being in New Mexico and trying to ride the wing of a plane because he was on acid ... He was wonderful and it was just a spectacular way to shoot. I've never experienced anything like that."

In her new Prime Video series The Terminal List, also starring Chris Pratt and Constance Wu, Tripplehorn plays the first female Secretary of Defense. "It's a genre I haven't worked in in a long time," she says. "It was an exhilarating challenge and lots of fun!"

The Terminal List is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video Friday.

For more on Jeanne Tripplehorn's career and what's next for the actress, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

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