Greyhound has garnered positive reception since its release. Here are ten behind-the-scenes facts about the Tom Hanks starring film.
The new Tom Hanks WWII Navy film Greyhound has been garnering generally favorable reviews across the board it was released on July 10, 2020. The film currently boasts a 79% Certified Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes to go along with a 7.1/10 IMDB rating, and 63/100 Metascore.
Directed by Aaron Schneider, the film follows unproven Naval Captain Ernest Krause (Hanks) in the early stages of World War II, who is tasked with guiding an Allied fleet of warships out of hostile Nazi waters. The film costars Elisabeth Shue, Stephen Graham, Matt Helm, Craig Tate, Rob Morgan, and a large supporting ensemble. With the film fresh on the brain, here are 10 Behind-The-Scenes Facts About the Making of Greyhound.
Tom Hanks Wrote The Script
Tom Hanks adapted the screenplay for Greyhound from the novel The Good Shepherd by C.S. Forester. It marks just the third film script Hanks has written in his career behind That Thing You Do! in 1996 and Larry Crowne in 2011.
According to an interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, Hanks was drawn to the project because “At about page 3, I realized that this was an entire story told through the mental perspective of its protagonist.” The story revolves around Ernest Krause, an inexperienced Naval Captain forced to lead a convoy of 37 Allied warships across the Atlantic during the onset of WWII.
Meant For Theatrical Release
With a budget north of $50 million, Greyhound was always intended to be a wide theatrical release. The spectacle of the action scenes was designed to play on the largest screens possible. Unfortunately, COVID-19 altered the course of Greyhound.
As a result of the global pandemic, Sony Pictures reversed their decision to push the movie back on its theatrical release schedule. The movie then became rebranded as an Apple+ Original Movie and given a July 10, 2020 release, nearly 18 months after its initially slated theatrical release date of January 25, 2020.
Fact Vs. Fiction
In order to ramp up the dramatic action, some liberties were taken regarding the historical accuracy of the story. While several at least five merchant ships and an oil tanker are sunk in the film, in reality, far fewer ships were under attack.
The real Convoy HX 25 that sailed from Halifax to Liverpool in March of 1940 did not consist of 37 Allied vessels. It was comprised of 25 merchant ships, one ocean escort, and roughly 5 convoy escorts. In reality, only three straggling merchant ships suffered aerial assaults. The rest of the action in the movie was fictionalized.
Another part of the story that was invented from whole cloth involves the sequence where German U-Boat officers hack the Convoy. While Germans were indeed prone to stumbling on communication breaches, the explicit terrorizing did not occur during the Battle of the Atlantic.
When the U-Boat hacks the convoy led by Krause (Hanks), a German enemy begins to torment the crewmen with threatening messages of impending doom. This was solely created for the film to increase the dramatic impact of the battle scenes.
While much of Greyhound was filmed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, several real Naval ships were used during both preproduction and principal photography.
In January of 2018, filming took place aboard Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship (HMCS) Montreal, once part of the Royal Canadian Navy. In March of the same year, photography also took place on the USS Kidd Naval destroyer in Baton Rouge. A combination of live-action and CGI was used to recreate the hallowed vessels, lending a certain authenticity Schneider would have been otherwise unable to achieve.
10,000 Photos Used For 3D Model For USS Kidd
To recreate the USS Kidd destroyer, Schneider and his production team collected roughly 10,000 photos from the Naval Archives and other sources, as well as scoured Youtube videos and Wikipedia pages for as much visual information as possible.
The photos were then used in a process called photogrammetry, aka 3D modeling. An entire digital recreation of the retired USS Kidd was made using his process, including intricate interior details. The model was used to inform Schneider how to stage certain shots and angle the camera in dramatic places throughout the ship.
The titular Greyhound vessel the film, aka the USS Keeling, was not a ship involved in the real-life Battle of the Atlantic. It’s a fictitious warship made for the purposes of the film.
However, war historians will note that that Greyhound DD548 Pennant Number shown when a trio of destroyers flees the convoy, comes from a real-life Fletcher-class vessel. The first Fletcher-class destroyer to be dispatched came in June 1942.
Although it’s given a different name in the movie (HMCS Dodge), another famous warship to be entirely recreated through digital means in the film was that of the Her Majesty Canadian Ship (HMCS) Sackville.
The HMCS Sackville served as a Flower-class Corvette during the early stages of World War II. The last surviving model of its kind, the ship has since been turned into a museum attraction that currently rests in a harbor in Halifax, Nova Scotia.
NVIDIA WaveWorks Software
To achieve the visual effect of the constantly moving Atlantic ocean in the film, Schneider and his FX team employed a video game software called NVIDIA WaveWorks.
The plug-in program primarily used by video game designers was used to visually simulate ocean movement in an interactive environment. According to Schneider (via Insider), the program “creates an open ocean and floats an object on the ocean based on the physical mass.”
Not A Single Drop Of Water Used
Perhaps the biggest technological feat of Greyhound, a movie predominantly set in the ocean, is that not a single drop of real water used during the production.
According to Schneider’s interview with Insider, “every drop of water in the movie is digital. Anything you see out the window or over Tom’s shoulder. In fact, most of the fire is digital too.” Needless to say, this almost unthinkable for a movie set on the high-seas.
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