Young Woman and the Sea: Exploring All Filming Locations

Based on an incredible true story and the eponymous 2009 book by Glenn Stout, ‘Young Woman and the Sea’ is a biographical romantic drama movie about Trudy Ederle, a competitive swimmer who became the first woman to cross the English Channel by swimming. Set in the 1920s, the Joachim Rønning directorial follows Trudy Ederle, a gold winner in swimming in the 1924 Olympics, who decides to do the most daring thing in her life — swimming across the English Channel. In 1926, after completing her objective by swimming from Battery Park in New York to Sandy Hook, New Jersey, she sold the story to a couple of newspapers in order to finance her quest.

Led by the compelling onscreen performance of Daisy Ridley, the drama film also features various other talented actors in supporting roles, including Tilda Cobham-Hervey, Stephen Graham, Kim Bodnia, Christopher Eccleston, and Glenn Fleshler. The dramatic and inspirational narrative unfolds against the constant backdrop of open waters and other interesting sites, raising questions about the authenticity of the filming locations.

Where Was Young Woman and the Sea Filmed?

‘Young Woman and the Sea’ was shot in Bulgaria, France, New York, and England. especially in Kavarna, New York City, Paris, and Iver. Principal photography for the biopic reportedly got underway in the first week of May 2022 and wrapped up in a month and a half in June of the same year.

Kavarna, Bulgaria

Most of the pivotal sequences for ‘Young Woman and the Sea’ were lensed in Kavarna, a Black Sea coastal town situated in the Dobruja region of northeastern Bulgaria. During the premiere of the film, Daisy Ridley, who portrays Trudy Ederle, shared her experience of the intense shooting process in the Black Sea. She opened up to Deadline, “I was really alone in the Black Sea, and I was really trying to keep pace with the camera. And then I was trying to keep pace with the boat and the camera boat. I trained for three months and then we were training during filming. And then we did the big swim at the end. So it was nine days in the Black Sea. It was overwhelming. It was cold. Each time, it was scary.”

In the same interview, the filmmaker, Joachim Rønning, stated, “It was very important to me to shoot it on real water. I wanted to be in the elements and tell this story. I didn’t want to be in a tank with a blue screen or green screen.” Before shooting began, Daisy was not a strong swimmer, and she had to learn the crawl to master it, which took several months of training, even during filming. When asked how much of the open water scenes were actually shot in open water, she told For The Win, “…And then open water — everything you see of the channel attempts in the day is open water. So there was a lot of open water swimming.”

Furthermore, Daisy elaborated on her experience of swimming in open water. She said, “…So the open water aspect was all new really when it came down to filming it. We had trained primarily in pools. And then we got out to sea, and I got plunked in there, and it was all a new experience. But yes, it was quite overwhelming. And then had to do a couple of things from land into the sea, where I couldn’t go [gasps] when I got in. I had to make that transition smooth.”

New York City, New York

A portion of ‘Young Woman and the Sea’ was also recorded in New York City in the eponymous state. To showcase the extraordinary journey of the New York native Trudy Ederle, the cast and crew visited the Big Apple. The city boasts a vibrant landscape, awe-inspiring skyline, skilled technicians, and first-rate production facilities. It is home to iconic landmarks like Central Park, Times Square, and the Empire State Building, making it a favorable filming spot for similar productions. Over the years, the city has enhanced the visual aesthetic of many films that lie in the same vein as the Daisy Ridley starrer, such as ‘The Greatest Showman,’ ‘Back to Black,’ ‘tick, tick… BOOM!,’ ‘Man on Wire,’ ‘Maestro,’ and ‘Green Book.

Paris, France

‘Young Woman and the Sea’ was also shot in the capital city of France, Paris. Popularly known as the City of Love, its rich historical heritage and iconic properties embellished with quintessential 19th-century architecture attract the attention of hundreds of tourists and filmmakers. Thus, Joachim Rønning found the city suitable for taping a few portions.

Iver, England

Several key scenes for ‘Young Woman and the Sea’ were recorded in the civil parish of Iver, which is situated in England’s Buckinghamshire. In particular, the cast and crew members set up camp in Pinewood Studios on Pinewood Road in Slough, Iver. Home to about 30 sound stages, the film studio also consists of a permanently filled Underwater Stage, one of the largest exterior tanks in Europe, production office spaces, and several acres of backlot, making it a suitable filming site for different kinds of production.

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