The MovieRoy Disney:
Well it needs to be a good movie first, that's our primary aim, because if it is a lousy movie about sailing, it's just another problem for sailing. Leslie DeMeuse (co-producer) and I both agreed it wasn't going to be about the boats, but the people who sail the boats. It is about these kids coming together and finding ways to work together and become a team. That [story] could be set against a lot of different backgrounds, we just happen to be doing it on a sailboat.
The audience is anyone that will pay to come see it, but the primary one is ourselves. You have to make a movie that you would want to go, see, and like, and enjoy.
Watching the Transpac, the general audience sees a little tiny boat disappear over the horizon and six days later show up somewhere else. A lot of them still say things to me like, "What do you do at night? Where do you
(I think, "In three miles of water, yeah right!")
"No, you keep racing at night."
"Really? How do you do that?"
So you know, those kinds of questions need to be answered for an awful lot of people. You've got to speak to that audience. If we can put the audience on board with these kids and see how the crew talk about what they're going to do before they do it, I think it will help bridge that gap a little.
These kids could give less of a damn whether we make the movie or not. They want to go win this race, and the camera and I are a little bit of a bother to them. Those of us who have been helping to train them, in particular, Robbie Haines (Sailing Team Manager), Stan Honey (Coach-Navigation), Chuck Hawley (Coach-Safety), and people like that are just like gods to them. So they are the real father figures, I think I'm more like a Grandpa.
The Morning Light Project really is a nice combination of a lot of things and a little bit about a positive look at the world and humanity and life and youth. The possibilities that are inherent in all of us when we are born and being brought up. In seven years maybe we'll want to make another movie and find out what's happened to all these kids, because it's going to change each of their lives absolutely. Leslie DeMeuse went to Hawaii on her dad's boat when she was 15, and I skippered our boat over there rather, well, much younger than I am now, and it changed each of our lives. I've seen it already start to happen to all of them, without even having made the trip.
Well you know I will make one prediction, and that is they will finish the race. How they do is not as important as the fact that they get there. When it gets personal you get a little faster anyway. To see that from aboard the boat and watch them become a functioning unit could get really interesting and it could be a really good movie. But the more important part is that they come together and become what I keep calling, "more than the sum of the parts." I'm almost scared if they win it will all look phony. I'm sure we could get around that somehow, but, oh my God, how lucky could you get?**
**In true Disney fashion, Morning Light finished the 2,225-mile race right on cue, under spinnaker against a brilliant orange sunrise. Led by Jeremy Wilmot of Honolulu, the Morning Light Team placed 2nd in Division 2.
Roy E. Disney
The son of Roy O. Disney co-founder of the Disney Company, Disney co-produced Morning Light with long-time partner and award-winning film maker Leslie DeMeuse. Disney has competed in the Transpac since 1975 (aboard the yawl, Shamrock), setting elapsed-time records in 1977 and 1999. He is best known for his four Pyewackets, named after the witch's (played by Kim Novak) cat in the movie Bell, Book, and Candle. Passionate about the sport, Disney says the Transpac is by far his favorite race.
Leslie DeMeuse has produced numerous sailing documentaries for television and collaborated with Roy Disney to film Transpac: A Century Across the Pacific. As co-producer with Disney of the Morning Light Project, Demeuse followed the young team (along with the camera crew) for a year as they prepared for the biggest event of their lives.
The Supporting Cast
Stan Honey-Coach & Navigation
Master Navigator Stan Honey has helped set records on numerous Transpac races and navigated ABN AMRO ONE to a win in the 2005/06 Volvo Ocean Race. Among his inventions: development of the FoxTrax system for tracking and highlighting the puck in NHL hockey games; the 1st and Ten system that creates the electronic first down line in NFL and NCAA football games.
Robbie Haines-Sailing Team
Haines has managed Roy Disney's sailing projects for 15 years, competing in 12 Transpacs as well as numerous offshore races. In his sailing career, he has won seven world championships in five classes and gold medaled in the Soling at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympic Games.
Chuck Hawley-Coach &
Hawley is vice president of Product Development for West Marine, the largest number of boat supply and accessory stores in the United States. He has sailed aboard vessels from ultralight sleds, to singlehanders, to the maxi catamaran PlayStation. Hawley is an expert on crew overboard recovery, life raft design, and storm tactics.
Recipient of the ISAF Rolex World Sailor award, Mike Sanderson is one of the most recognized names in sailing. Accomplishments include three America's Cup campaigns and leading ABN AMRO ONE to a win in the 2005/06 Volvo Ocean Race. Currently, Sanderson is CEO and Skipper of the Team Sanya Volvo Ocean Race campaign.
Disney purchased the Transpac 52 Pegasus from software developer Philippe Kahn. After the Transpac, this fast Harken-equipped boat was sold to Australian Syd Fischer who raced it in the 2007/08 Sydney-Hobart.
The production team filmed Morning Light's journey from aboard the 38 m (125 ft) catamaran Cheyenne, formally Steve Fossett's PlayStation.