Inspired by the 2013 eponymous novel by Daniel James Brown, ‘The Boys in the Boat’ is a biographical sports drama movie that takes us back to the 1930s and gives us a detailed yet dramatized account of the 1936 University of Washington rowing team that represented the United States at the Berlin Summer Olympics. Except for the working-class rowers, the group of underdogs includes all the coaches and boatbuilder George Pocock.
With rower Joe Rantz’s character in the spotlight, the inspirational true tale shows how a determined team can turn around even the most difficult of situations. George Clooney, taking on the role of director and co-producer, had some talented actors under his direction, including Callum Turner, Joel Edgerton, Jack Mulhern, Sam Strike, and Alec Newman. Although the focus is mainly on the rowers cutting through the waters to row ahead, viewers can’t help but take in the scenic backdrops and ponder about the actual shooting locations.
Where Was The Boys in the Boat Filmed?
Covering various locations around the globe, ‘The Boys in the Boat’ was filmed in Washington, California, England, and Germany, especially in Seattle, Los Angeles, London, Henley, Oxford, Surrey, Winnersh, Wiltshire, and Berlin. According to reports, principal photography for the biopic got underway in March 2022 and wrapped up in about four months, in July of the same year.
A set of the exterior as well as interior scenes for ‘The Boys in the Boat’ was lensed on location in the seaport city of Seattle, which is the seat of Washington’s King County. In particular, the campus of the University of Washington at 1410 Northeast Campus Parkway in Seattle was utilized by the filming unit to shoot several key scenes for the movie.
Los Angeles, California
The director and his team also took the production all the way to the home of the Hollywood industry and shot a few additional portions for ‘The Boys in the Boat.’ Its posh neighborhoods, iconic landmarks, and scenic beaches, have been a part of several other productions over the years, such as ‘The Wolf of Wall Street,’ ‘Dumb Money,’ ‘The Social Network,’ and ‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.’
‘The Boys in the Boat’ was also taped in the capital of England and the United Kingdom — London. The cast and crew were spotted in different parts of the city as they recorded important scenes, during the production process. In a conversation with Movie Web, George Clooney, the director, and Joel Edgerton, who portrays Al Ulbrickson, opened up about their best and worst days during the shooting of the biopic. The former said, “Best day is that’s a wrap. I don’t know, every day is fun. Look, I’m 62 years old, and I get to play in a sandbox that I never thought I’d ever get a chance to do.”
Clooney further elaborated, “I love every single day of going to work. I enjoy the fact that we get to be children still. I’m always fascinated by it. I’m fascinated with the challenges. There aren’t ‘worst days.’ We had bad days. We had COVID. There were always things that could go wrong, but we figured it out.” As for Joel, he expressed, “My worst day, it’s not really the worst, though the most challenging one is just taking your character for a walk for the first time in front of about 100 people and a studio that might be like, ‘We made the wrong choice.'”
Talking about his best days, Joel added, “The best days are kind of a mix of all days. It was a really enjoyable shoot. There was just a good feeling among everyone. I never really had some devastatingly terrible day. Maybe the days when we knew that people were out with COVID, and we had to sort of act alone. There was some complicated stuff around COVID-19 that got in the way.”
Other Locations in England
A significant portion of ‘The Boys in the Boat’ was recorded across England, including in and around the Upper Thames Rowing Club on Remenham Lane in Henley-on-Thames. In order to replicate the ASUW Shell House of Seattle, the production team constructed a full-size replica in a sound stage, after visiting the actual University of Washington campus and scanning the Shell House inside out.
For taping some exterior scenes of the swastika-draped boathouse and rowing scenes, the cast and crew set up camp in and around the bank of the River Thames, located in East Molesey, Surrey. Another English site that doubled for the University of Washington Boathouse is Cleveland Lakes Nature Reserve in the Cotswold Water Park near Swindon. It was also utilized to shoot the 1936 Berlin Olympics. A site near Clooney’s English mansion home, Didcot Railway Centre on Station Road in Didcot, and Molesey Boat Club on Barge Walk in Molesey, East Molesey, are some other production locations that feature in the biographical movie.
Moreover, the filming unit set up camp in Winnersh Film Studios at 1020 Eskdale Road in Wokingham, Berkshire. Home to six sound stages, production offices, workshops, and ample parking space, it is Stage Fifty’s second film studio in the United Kingdom. All these features and amenities provide the filmmakers with all the necessary tools required for the production process of different kinds of projects.
Additional portions of ‘The Boys in the Boat’ were even lensed in Berlin — the capital of Germany. The aerial shots of the Olympiastadion Berlin at Olympischer Platz 3 in the city of Berlin showcased a stadium filled with enthusiastic crowds in the film. It is possible that other local sites of the city were also utilized by the production team.
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