15 January 2022
By Göran R Buckhorn
HTBS has some news related to the upcoming movie, The Boys in the Boat. Boatbuilders at Richmond Boathouse in Richmond upon Thames, England, are working on wooden vessels for the movie.
For some time now, newspapers and magazines have written about the coming movie The Boys in the Boat, which is based on Daniel James Brown’s bestseller book with the same title. Brown was lucky to sell the film rights even before his book was released in 2013.
There has been a lot of back and forth about when the film is going to hit the big screen. This writer is eagerly awaiting the film together with other fans of Brown’s book – and there are many of us.
However, the articles published earlier this year have only rehashed old news, e.g. that British actor and director Kenneth Branagh was going to direct the movie, and then he was not; George Clooney had signed up to direct the film; and British actor Callum Turner was to play Joe Rantz, the “boy” in the 7-seat. All this and more, HTBS has written about on several occasions.
Seattle Times published another one of those “not-much-new-about-The-Boys-in-the-Boat-movie” articles on Wednesday, 12 January. Though, there was a little “news” as the article writer, Moira Macdonald, the newspaper’s arts critic, wrote that the shooting “may begin in England as early as this spring.”
Macdonald wrote that George Clooney is currently in Australia filming a comedy with Julia Roberts, Ticket to Paradise. That shoot is scheduled to end later this month. According to the piece in Seattle Times, Clooney said that the filming of The Boys in the Boat starts “right away” after that.
In the Seattle Times article, author Daniel James Brown, who is interviewed by Macdonald, said that he had heard from his agent that the shooting will start in April and most of it will be filmed in the UK.
This will of course be a great disappointment in the USA, especially for the many fans of “The Boys” on the west coast. The film crew “are not planning to do principal photography in Washington,” Murphy Gilson, creative director of University of Washington’s marketing and communications department, told Macdonald. Gilson was not even aware if there was going to be a second-unit filming in the Seattle area. “They don’t tell us much,” he said.
However, HTBS is happy to give some exciting news about what is going on in England, in Richmond upon Thames to be exact, which is related to the making of the movie.
Peter Williams, who published a three-piece article with Sandy Nairne about Lord Desborough and the 1908 Olympic Games on HTBS last year (Part I, Part II, Part III), sent some photographs he took at Richmond Boathouse last week. There, boatbuilders Bill Colley and Mark Edwards and their colleagues are building wooden racing eights and the Leviathan, a training punt, for The Boys in the Boat movie. “Bill, aged 85, is probably Britain’s last builder of wooden racing boats,” Williams wrote to HTBS in an email. Williams continued: “This, of course, has echoes of George Pocock, who was born in Kingston upon Thames and started life as a boatbuilder in the UK before emigrating to Canada in 1911 – subsequently finding fame in the USA.”
While Bill Colley and his co-workers are building the eights with their skin in a beautiful red cedar in the Boathouse, Mark Edwards, the proprietor of the Boathouse, and his team are working outside on the Leviathan.
Edwards is a well-known boatbuilder who, in 2004, built two replicas of the two boats used by Oxford and Cambridge in the first Boat Race in 1829. Former Oxbridge oarsmen where racing in these boats prior to the 2004 Boat Race. Edwards also built the beautiful 94-foot-long, 18-oared rowing barge Gloriana in 2011-2012. Gloriana led the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant on 3 June 2012 on the River Thames in London in celebration of Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
HTBS promises to come back with more articles as the watercraft progress at Richmond Boathouse.