One of the most incredible and enduring mysteries of recent times comes to vivid, cinematic life in The Mercy, releasing on Blu-ray and DVD from 04 June, which tells the extraordinary and moving true story of amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst (Academy Award� winner COLIN FIRTH), and his attempt to win the first non-stop single-handed round-the-world yacht race in 1968.
Crowhurst entered the race with an unfinished boat, but set sail all the same having put his business and house on the line to do so. With everything at risk, Firth shares his thoughts on the pressures of his situation: �Even the night before he left, he said to Rodney Halworth [his press agent] and Stanley Best [his sponsor] that the boat�s not ready. He knew that. But he had to go, they told him he had to go. The contract that he had signed, meant forfeiting his house and his business if he didn�t go, and even if he didn�t finish, either. So he had to set out�.
Leaving his wife, Clare (Academy Award� winner RACHEL WEISZ) and their children behind, Crowhurst hesitantly embarks on an epic adventure on his boat, the Teignmouth Electron. Empathising with the problems Crowhurst encountered when out at sea, Firth said: �I for one found immense admiration and sympathy for him every step of the way and could see each problem as it occurred�.
With a new understanding of these dangers faced at sea, Firth elaborated to say: �It was sextant barometer compass, wind vane, and your own skills. And you know, you could get lost. And no one would be there to rescue you, unless you were very fortunate, unless someone was in range of your Morse, or� and I�m certainly not saying anything to diminish the extraordinary feats of what people do today, but the idea of that degree of isolation, for that length of time, I can�t think of how one could parallel it now�.
Taking on the role of Crowhurst, meant that Firth got to taste what life on a boat might be like for a sailor. Speaking on the juxtaposition of physical spaces at sea, Firth revealed what shocked him the most: �You are in a tiny, tiny little space. You�re on a forty-foot boat, with a cabin which is shockingly small. So the cabin is utterly claustrophobic, and you�re right between that and basically infinity. So extreme space, and lack of space�.
During his months at sea, Donald encountered bad weather, faulty equipment, structural damage and solitude. Shooting the film at sea provided similar challenges: �We had the elements to deal with ourselves� Firth said. �And they don�t cooperate. When you want bad weather, you�ve got smooth weather. James Marsh [director] didn�t want to film in tanks, he wanted to film on real sea. And we did that. We had to use the tank for a couple of moments, night shoots and a storm, but we were out at sea�.
When asked about getting to grips with sailing for the role, Firth found himself sharing a love of being out at sea: �Obviously, there was a bit of a rush to get me acquainted with the basics, so I did what I could. I did everything from going out on our boat, to singlehanding a Catamaran. I was actually on holiday on an island off the coast of Cambodia and that�s when I started to love it. Just being on my own on a tiny craft, just beginning to get acquainted with your relationship with the wind, really�.��
Taking on the role in a film where the narrative is immensely accessible, Firth said: �It is something that resonates with so many people. You don�t have to have been to sea, you don�t have to be sailor, you don�t have to be an explorer. You don�t even have to have taken on anything, particularly extreme in the obvious sense. But I think that anybody who has taken on something ambitious, risky, has really dared to do something. And that, I think, probably everybody in some way has made some version of a gesture like that in their lives, whether it�s just in their relationships. I think will recognise what it feels like to go further than you�re truly able to do.�
The Mercy � a quintessential British story and production � is boosted by an impressive support cast of David Thewlis, Ken Stott and Jonathan Bailey. Produced by Pete Czernin and Graham Broadbent through Blueprint Pictures and Scott Z.
Burns, alongside Nicolas Mauvernay and Jacques Perrin of Galatee, the project was developed with Christine Langan from BBC Films and STUDIOCANAL.
Featuring outstanding central performances from Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz, The Mercy is a powerful, emotional and compelling true story about one man�s dream to attempt the extraordinary.
WIN The Mercy on DVD
To celebrate the release, we are giving away 10 DVDs. Simply answer the below question to be in with a chance of winning.
Question: Who plays amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst in THE MERCY?
A - Daniel Craig
B - Hugh Grant
C - Colin Firth
Email your answer to email@example.com by 28 June to be in with a chance to winning.
The first 10 correct answers, picked at random will win.� Winners will be notified by email.