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George filming near home in Henley-on-Thames this week

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Post by party animal - not! Thu 19 May 2022, 11:05

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Post by annemarie Thu 19 May 2022, 12:22

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19 May 2022

[size=32]George’s short boat trip to work[/size]

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WITH a large, luxurious house on the river at Sonning, it wasn’t far for him to come to work.
George Clooney was in Henley this week shooting scenes for a new film he is directing.
The Boys In The Boat is the story of the University of Washington‘s successful quest for rowing gold at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin and is based on the book by Daniel James Brown.
The 61-year-old actor could clearly be seen giving instructions as shooting took place at Upper Thames Rowing Club, off Remenham Lane.
On Monday hundreds of extras played members of the crowd as the race between the university eight working class men and a college crew from California was recreated on the water.
The men were dressed in Thirties formal attire with grey and beige overcoats and bowler hats. The women wore long skirts, woollen cardigans and summer bonnets.
They were standing on the bank or in large wooden stands adorned with bunting and large speakers. Thirties-style cameramen stood on wooden podiums with vintage news cameras.
Two large barges each carried about 30 extras playing supporters and had college flags draped from their railings. When Clooney called “action”, the crowd began to cheer wildly and wave white and blue flags.
He directed multiple takes of the two team coaches shaking hands on the jetty of the rowing club, where two motorboats flying the US flag were moored.
The actors playing the university crew were dressed in white vests and sported slicked back hairstyles. They were given advice on rowing by a coach before the scenes were shot.
Justin Sutherland, chairman of the rowing club, was contacted by the production company last year about using the club for filming. He said: “They had gone quite some way to establishing that this was where they wanted to film.
“By the time I started talking to them, it was clear that this was the location they had chosen.
“It’s a film about rowing and Henley has a very big rowing connection and as George Clooney is a local guy, perhaps he had some input.”
Mr Sutherland said he was delighted to host the film crew but admitted some Upper Thames members were less enthusiastic.
He said: “Members have been told quite firmly that we need to keep out of the way, certainly in the daytime. As a lot of our crews are training for the regatta, it is quite disruptive to be doing that at this time of year.
“We’ve received a kind donation from the film-makers to compensate for this, which will go towards paying for four new boats we bought recently.”
Mr Sutherland was impressed by the attention to detail given to the boat and equipment being used for the film.
He said: “It is a quite extraordinary insight into how rowing boats used to be.
“There is real canvas on the boat, brass gates where they put the blades and leather buttons on the blades themselves. It really is like going back in time, especially when you see the extras walking around in costume. It is like you are in America during the Depression.”
Gillian Nahum, owner of Henley Sales and Charter, rented six Thirties-style boats to the production company.
These included two American Chris-Craft boats, two British river launches, a Swedish fast-commuter launch and a gentlemen’s saloon launch.
Ms Nahum said she was approached by the company in October.
She said: “I thought it was great that they were using a local company as they normally just bring in people from outside.
“I am especially excited as I have read the book, so to be involved in some way with the movie adaptation is amazing.
“I explained to the different boat owners what a great story it was and I think that is what got them to agree.
“They weren’t difficult to convince in the end. People were really excited by the story and the opportunity to be part of it.”
Ms Nahum also sold the production team a boat that will be featured heavily in the film.
She said: “It is a Thirties Thames-built Gibbs Launch motorboat that I sold to them at Christmas. They showed it to me recently and they had completely transformed it. It has been repainted and renamed.
“It will be the boat driven by the coach of the Washington team, which features heavily in the book.”
•The 1936 Olympic rowing regatta featured seven events for men only. It took place on a course at Grünau on the Langer See on the outskirts of Berlin. The competition was dominated by the hosts, Germany, who medalled in every event and took five of the seven gold medals. But the men’s eights, the final race, was won by the University of Washington crew in a close finish with only one second separating the top three boats at the end of the six-and-a-half minute battle. Henley has hosted the Olympic regatta twice — in 1908 and 1948.

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