Opening in theaters on May 31st is the new sports biopic ‘Young Woman and the Sea’, which is based on the true story of Gertrude “Trudy” Ederle, the first woman to swim across the English Channel.

Directed by Joachim Rønning (‘Maleficent: Mistress of Evil’) and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer (‘Remember the Titans’), the movie stars Daisy Ridley (‘Star Wars: The Force Awakens’), Tilda Cobham-Hervey (‘I Am Woman’), Stephen Graham (‘The Irishman’), Christopher Eccleston (‘Thor: The Dark World’), and Glenn Fleshler (‘Joker’).

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Tilda Cobham-Hervey and Daisy Ridley talk 'Young Woman and the Sea'.

(L to R) Tilda Cobham-Hervey and Daisy Ridley talk 'Young Woman and the Sea'.

Moviefone recently had the pleasure of sitting down in-person with Daisy Ridley and Tilda Cobham-Hervey to talk about their work on ‘Young Woman and the Sea’, the incredible true story it is based on, their approach to their characters, preparing physically for their roles and working with director Joachim Rønning.

You can read the full interview below or click on the video player above to watch our interviews with Ridley, Cobham-Hervey, director Joachim Rønning, and producer Jerry Bruckheimer.

Daisy Ridley as Trudy Ederle in Disney’s live-action 'Young Woman and the Sea'.

Daisy Ridley as Trudy Ederle in Disney’s live-action 'Young Woman and the Sea'. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2024 Disney Enterprises Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Moviefone: To begin with, Daisy, can you talk about your approach to playing Trudy and what were some of the aspects of the character on the page that you were excited to explore on screen?

Daisy Ridley: When we were coming to it, I thought this is weirdly difficult, because Trudy is a character that knows what she wants and does it. I thought it's interesting trying to think about that because so much of what we see, and honestly in the film, are the difficulties of overcoming. But on the page, I thought, "Well, she did the amazing thing." Then as we got into it, obviously moment by moment you see those difficulties come out in different ways. So, I spoke to Joachim. I really wanted the joy of her swimming to come through. There were conversations about socially what it meant and what it means for women in sport, but I wanted her to be someone who was driven by her own love of her sport. So that was one of the things I was really excited for. The joy between the two sisters and this family that supports each other, and then a lot of physical training, but really coming in and wanting that joy to come through and the hopefulness that I felt at the end of the script.

MF: Tilda, can you talk about Trudy’s relationship with her sister Meg and the way she and their parents supported Trudy on her journey?

Tilda Cobham-Hervey: Yeah, that's the part of the story that really moved me as well. I think that it also shows that when someone has that singular dream like that, it often takes a community of people that really support that dream to make it possible. It was also just so nice to be able to play a really loving relationship between two sisters and two women that were trying to work out how to become adults in the world and really pushing each other to be the best versions of themselves that they could be. I think Meg represents the societal pressures of the time. She must get married and to someone she doesn't really want to get married to and have the job that is working in her father's business. She doesn't have those opportunities, and I think that shows the balance of also how extraordinary it was that Trudy was able to do what she did and how crazy it was compared to the way most women were living at that time. So, I think that difference between the two of them really helps explain Trudy's extraordinary talent.

Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Meg Ederle in Disney’s live-action 'Young Woman and the Sea'. Photo courtesy of Disney.

Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Meg Ederle in Disney’s live-action 'Young Woman and the Sea'. Photo courtesy of Disney. © 2024 Disney Enterprises Inc. All Rights Reserved.

MF: Meg really gets to live out her dreams in a way through Meg fulfilling her dreams, correct?

TCH: Yeah. I think that's a big part of it. It sort of becomes a shared dream in the end. It means something so much more than just achieving the physical feat. It's like achieving an idea of what's possible for women.

MF: Daisy, can you talk about the challenges of training and getting physically ready for this role and shooting on the open water?

DR: Well, I could not swim 10 meters in my first session. I got up and was having a mild panic attack and thought, "What have I done?" Then worked hard for three months before we started shooting. Then we had two weeks in Bulgaria, so we were able to swim together, which was nice. It was tough. We had an amazing coach who was an Olympian, and we continued training throughout filming. Then really the open water was the end of the shoot. It was nine days in the Black Sea, and that was honestly daunting. Because the impact is oftentimes easier than the buildup, each day I thought, "Okay, if I can just get to this thing," because I was in a panic about what it might be, but you don't know what it's going to feel like until you're in the sea. So, the first time plopping in, and the safety boat went away, I thought, "Oh my god." There's currents and I must keep up with the boat and I must keep up with the camera. It was overwhelming and it was cold. So, in and out, doing that for many, many, many days was tough. But also, the safety support team did call me a real tough cookie, and I was like, "Yes." Yeah, it was afterwards I was exhausted. I think so much of it was pushing the panic down until I had done the thing.

'Young Woman and the Sea' director Joachim Rønning.

'Young Woman and the Sea' director Joachim Rønning.

MF: Finally, what was it like for both of you collaborating with director Joachim Rønning on the set?

DR: There was one time where for whatever reason you weren't there, because there could only be a certain number of people on the boat, and he had to read your lines from it and I thought, "Oh my God." He literally was watching me, and I was like, "Joachim, you have a line." He goes, "Oh, sorry." He was just in the scene. He would occasionally (direct) from the boat. I mean, I felt lonely in that water, but then looking up and seeing a bank of people who were very supportive was great.

Daisy Ridley during production of 'Young Woman and the Sea'.

Daisy Ridley during production of 'Young Woman and the Sea'. Photo courtesy of Joachim Rønning. © 2024 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

TCH: It was sometimes terrifying to be on that boat just watching her in the middle of the ocean. The takes would go on for quite some time, and it was an extraordinary feat to just be witnessing you navigate the ocean. Daisy also had to do it for many days before I had to jump in for the tiny moment that I do, so I was sort of watching you going, "Okay, that looks all right." Then slowly getting more terrified watching you do it before I had to.

Young Woman and the Sea

"Defy the odds"
PG2 hr 9 minMay 16th, 2024
Showtimes & Tickets

Daisy Ridley stars as the accomplished swimmer who was born to immigrant parents in New York City in 1905. Through the steadfast support of her older sister and... Read the Plot

What is the plot of ‘Young Woman and the Sea’?

‘Young Woman and the Sea’ tells the story of Gertrude Ederle (Daisy Ridley), an American swimming champion, who first won a gold medal at the 1924 Olympic Games. In 1926, Ederle became the first woman to swim 21 miles across the English Channel.

Who is in the cast of ‘Young Woman and the Sea’?

  • Daisy Ridley as Gertrude "Trudy" Ederle
  • Tilda Cobham-Hervey as Margaret "Meg" Ederle
  • Stephen Graham as Bill Burgess
  • Kim Bodnia as Henry Ederle
  • Christopher Eccleston as Jabez Wolffe
  • Glenn Fleshler as James Sullivan
  • Jeanette Hain as Gertrude Anna Ederle
  • Sian Clifford as Charlotte

Daisy Ridley as Trudy Ederle in Disney's live-action 'Young Woman and the Sea'.

Daisy Ridley as Trudy Ederle in Disney's live-action 'Young Woman and the Sea'. Photo by Elena Nenkova. © 2024 Disney Enterprises, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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