Conspiring to Thrill continues...
Since crewing is such an important aspect of the film, both Jackson and Harper insisted on doing the rowing themselves. It may look easy, but crewing is a demanding sport, and one which neither Harper nor Jackson had ever attempted. But they met the challenge head on, training extensively.
"Our rowing coach had us twice on Saturday and Sunday every weekend since we arrived in town," states Jackson. "By getting on the water and working with a rowing coach, I learned to be a real coxswain and Josh learned to be a real rower," continues Harper. "Because of this Rob was able to shoot us in both close-ups and long shots, enabling the audience to see a real boat race. It makes for a very exciting scene."
Working with such dedicated actors was a rewarding experience for Cohen. "The rowing, the training, the commitment Josh made to that regatta meant that when he did take the oar and the lead seat in the boat we didn't have to cut to a double. That's Josh rowing that winning race! That's Hill coxing! Actors' dedication to their roles is always an amazing dimension to their craft," says Cohen. "As a director, all I can feel is gratitude for that third dimension and the freedom it allows me to tell the story. All these young actors stepped up and met the challenges their roles entailed, physically, emotionally and intellectually. They were a joy to work with."
The inspired young cast is complemented by a core of experienced actors, including: Craig T. Nelson, William Petersen, Steve Harris and Christopher McDonald. This combination of youth and experience resulted in a believable and highly-tense suspense drama.
"This movie's first obligation is to entertain, to excite," says Cohen. "If it can excite thought as well as the sense of a good ride, then it's done a complete job. All of us set our sights on that goal, and I think we've succeeded."