'The Boys in the Boat' doubled the Cotswolds for Seattle

George Clooney's film about a University of Washington team rowing team was shot in the UK

By Gabriella Geisinger 21 Dec 2023

'The Boys in the Boat' doubled the Cotswolds for Seattle
The Boys in the Boat; Cr: Amazon MGM Studios

George Clooney's The Boys in the Boat tells the story of the members of the rowing team at the University of Washington who are thrust into the spotlight as they compete for gold at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Clooney, who directed and produced the drama, spoke at the University of Washington's rowing hub Conibear Shellhouse, saying: “Once we came here and looked, we were like, ‘It’s all developed now.'

"This is not a big-budget film, and so for us to be able to shoot, we needed a place that had rivers and reservoirs … a place with space to build the boathouse again and to shoot around it.” 

A Cotswold's lakes doubled for Washington's Union Bay, and the 104-year-old boathouse at the edge of the Montlake Cut in Washington was a purpose build replica at Cleveland Lakes Nature Reserve in England. 

According to The Seattle Times, the UK's competitive tax rebate helped lure the production to the UK. "The [UK] also has multiple production facilities and a solid base of local film crew and cast, according to a source close to the production....Seattle has 'talent', as industry insiders call it, but the pool can be on the small side if you want to pull off a production of this magnitude," they wrote.

The Boys in the Boat is an Amazon MGM Studios production based on the book by Daniel James Brown. Executive producers are Kevin Ulrich, Barbara A. Hall, Gary Barber, Peter Oillataguerre with Grant Heslov and Clooney as producers.

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