SailGP makes its Hollywood debut when two F50s take a starring role in the summer’s big blockbuster Tenet, a new sci-fi spy thriller by acclaimed director Christopher Nolan.
Tenet, starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh, was filmed across the world in seven locations – including Southampton, UK – and when the script required an epic sailing scene, SailGP answered the call.
Following Cowes SailGP in August 2019, two F50s – the Japan and US boats – were rebranded exclusively for the Hollywood movie and SailGP’s world-class athletes took part in the filming . . . although it will be a struggle to spot them thanks to the magic of cinematography.
US SailGP helm Rome Kirby and SailGP Season 1 champion Tom Slingsby of the Australia team were two of the athletes involved and spent a week at the helm of the F50s – one white and one blue – setting up dramatic, boat-on-boat scenes in the Solent, under the watchful eye of Nolan from a helicopter.
While SailGP is certainly a logistical feat involving national teams from around the world, multiple global events and the world’s top athletes – the Hollywood production was another level.
Based out of Southampton docks, the filming involved multiple helicopters, chase boats, hi-tech camera boats, IMAX cameras, production staff and a team of hair and make-up, which Kirby got to experience first-hand.
“When news reached us that SailGP would be featured in a Hollywood movie, everyone wanted to be involved,” said Slingsby.
“In the script, the white boat was helmed by the character played by Debicki,” explained Kirby. “In the real world, very few people are equipped to handle an F50 and while Debicki already had a stunt double – who had more than a passing resemblance to the Australian actress – even in a blonde wig, I didn’t really cut it as Hollywood leading lady.”
“It was amazing to be a part of. We shot scene after scene, scenario after scenario trying to get as close to each other as possible. We didn’t know how the pieces fit together or where it would feature in the movie, but I think it will be a pretty prominent scene.”
SailGP will debut in Tenet, out 26 August. Full details and exclusive behind the scenes content plus the story of the filming can be found at SailGP.com/hollywoodpremiere.