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SailGP Stars in a Hollywood Movie

SailGP makes its Hollywood debut this week in a new movie, Tenet. Christopher Nolan directed the sci-fi spy thriller. John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh star in the movie. Shooting locations included Southampton, UK. When the script required an epic sailing scene, two SailGP F50 catamarans answered the call.

Two foiling catamarans
The Japan and US foiling catamarans faced off on the Solent while the cameras rolled. We have no idea how this scene fits into the plot of the thriller.
© 2020 Warner Brothers

Following Cowes SailGP in August 2019, the American and Japan boats were rebranded for the Hollywood movie. The teams’ professional sailors 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 spent a week at the helm of the F50s — one white and one blue — setting up dramatic, boat-on-boat scenes in the Solent. Nolan watched from a helicopter.

SailGP is always a logistical feat involving teams from around the world and multiple global events. But the Hollywood production took logistics to another level. Based out of Southampton docks, the filming involved multiple helicopters, chase boats, high-tech camera boats, IMAX cameras, production staff and a team of hair and makeup technicians. Kirby got to experience them first-hand. “In the script, the white boat was helmed by the character played by [Elizabeth] Debicki,” explained Kirby. “In the real world, very few people are equipped to handle an F50. 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.”

While watching an NBA playoff game this week, we caught a clip of the trailer in an ad promoting Tenet’s release yesterday, on Thursday, September 3. Here’s the whole trailer:

Tenet is heralded as a “Hollywood summer blockbuster,” the first of summer 2020 to be widely released to theaters. Although theaters in many counties are still closed, they are open in various others with limited capacity. COVID-19 has actually resulted in the resurgence of that old school favorite, the drive-in theater!

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