Everything you need to know about The Mercy

Colin Firth takes on the world’s oceans; they may need a bigger boat. Here are the facts…

Spoilers may follow.

What’s it about?

It takes a brave soul to singlehandedly sail a yacht around the world. It takes a mad one to do so as a middle-aged amateur, but that’s what Duncan Crowhurst attempted in 1968.

There had been murmurs for some time that a number of sailors sought to make the first non-stop solo circumnavigation of the world when The Sunday Times announced their Golden Globe Race. The paper had initially planned to sponsor one such British sailor to do so but came up with the idea of a race to stave the possibility that their man might be beaten in the task by another boat.

Crowhurst was a weekend sailor who made a living from selling navigational equipment. His was a business on the wane and the opportunity to win a large cash prize in the Sunday Times’ competition seemed too good to resist.

The Mercy follows his perilous journey.

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Who’s in it?

Colin Firth takes the lead in this one as Donald Crowhurst, who leaves behind his wife Clare – Rachel Weisz – and two children: James and Rachel – Kit Connor and Eleanor Stagg respectively.

Supporting Donald’s voyage, David Thewlis co-stars as his press agent Rodney Hallworth, with Ken Stott as Stanley Best, his sponsor.

Jonathan Bailey, Mark Gatiss and Andrew Buchan make up the rest of the, predominantly male, cast, with Simon McBurney playing Sir Francis Chichester, the first man to sail the journey with a stop off half way.

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Who’s made it?

In a bizarre twist, The Mercy is actually the one of two films – from the same distributer – to dramatize the story this year, ahead Simon Rumley’s low-budget Crowhurst.

Directed by The Theory of Everything‘s James Marsh, The Mercy had been announced to great fanfare in 2015 but hit rocky waters in the journey to release. When producers StudioCanal then discovered that a rival film was to tell the same story (and seemed likely to get there first to boot) the decision was taken to snap up the distribution rights and ‘manage’ the competition themselves.

The Mercy has been written by Scott Z. Burns (The Bourne Ultimatum), with Marsh’s Theory of Everything collaborator Jóhann Jóhannsson providing the score. Jóhannsson’s last work was for Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival but he has since served as music and sound consultant for Darren Aronofsky’s mother!

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When’s it out?

The Mercy sails into cinemas on Friday, February 9.

Watch the trailer here:

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