New Rowing Movie: “Heart of Champions”

Image Vertical Entertainment Instagram

10 October 2021

By Göran R Buckhorn

A new rowing movie, Heart of Champions, comes to the U.S. theatres on 29 October.

I and many other rowing fans, I believe, are eagerly anticipating two rowing movies to come to the big screen. Both are based on two brilliant books, Dan Boyne’s Kelly: A Father, A Son, An American Quest, a rowing biography about the Philadelphia Kellys, and Daniel James Brown’s The Boys in the Boat, about the Washington crew that captured the 1936 Olympic gold medal in the eights.

Not knowing when any of these films will come out, we will be able, however, to watch a new rowing movie which has sneaked into the scene without a lot of hullaballoo, Heart of Champions. The film will be released at selected theatres in the United States on the 29th of this month. It is produced by Vertical Entertainment.

Heart of Champions is written by Vojin Gjaja, a former oarsman at Columbia University and former officer in the U.S. Army. It is directed by Michael Mailer. The film is executively produced by rowing-famed Harvard twins, Oxford Blues, Olympians and Boat Race partners, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who were depicted in the “rowing” movie The Social Network.

Coach Murphy (Michael Shannon) inspecting his “troops”. Image Vertical Entertainment

Heart of Champions, which in the beginning of its production was called Swing, is set in 1999 at an Ivy League college where a group of friends and rowers have their lives changed when an Army veteran, played by Michael Shannon, takes over as the coach of their crumbling team.

Among the cast members are Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Alex MacNicoll, Ash Santos, Lilly Krug and David James Elliott.

Three of the actresses and the screen writer: Lilly Krug, Ash Santos, Vojin Gjaja and Caroline Cole. Image Vertical Entertainment Instagram

Here is the synopsis of Heart of Champions:

After finishing last in the national championship, a college rowing team descends into turmoil and constant infighting between team leaders Alex (Alexander Ludwig), Chris (Charles Melton), and John (Alex MacNicoll). A tough Army veteran, Coach Murphy (Michael Shannon), arrives at the start of the new season to transform the status quo and unlock their true potential. Using his experience and unconventional methods to help them overcome petty rivalries and personal challenges, Coach Murphy must inspire these young men to learn what it takes to be a team before they can be champions.

Vertical Entertainment released a trailer the other day.

More images of the actors, actresses and production shots can be found on Vertical Entertainment Instagram.

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