- author, Stephen McIntosh
- Role, Entertainment correspondent, BBC
Sharks, jellyfish stings, tropical storms, navigation problems, and physical exhaustion are the types of problems that fortunately don’t worry the average person during a normal workday.
But for retired athlete Diana Nyad, these were the challenges she faced during the many attempts she made, in her early sixties, to become the first person to swim a distance of 177 kilometers from Cuba to Florida without using a protective cage.
Most people, including Nyad herself, believe that she retired from competitive swimming at the age of 30.
But more than three decades later, he decided to keep it going The goal he eluded when he was 20 years old.
After attempting the challenge in 1979, since 2011 Nyad has made four more attempts to cross the water, finally achieving her dream in 2013.
Her story has now been adapted to the screen by Netflix, with actress Annette Bening receiving an Oscar nomination for her role as the swimmer, who was supported by her friend and coach Bonnie Stoll.
The real Stoll told the BBC: “Every time she goes swimming, of course you think it’s going to work.”
“And it’s a problem when that doesn’t happen. Especially for her, because that means another year of training, Because she will not give up no matter what happens.“.
Stoll, played by Jodie Foster in the film, is as much a part of the story as Naiad herself.
She sailed with her best friend, managed the operation and kept the trip on track.
“I played tennis for 10 years and Diana was my coach,” Stoll explains. “She taught me a lot about physical ability.” “And for me, being able to switch roles and coach Diana was really cool and I loved it. I learned more about human will than anything else“.
The film, simply titled Nyad, is the feature debut of husband-and-wife directorial duo Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin.
They have previously made documentaries such as Free Solo, about a climber without ropes, and The Rescue, about children who became trapped in a cave in Thailand.
“Like moths to a flame, Jamie and I were drawn to these stories About individuals who push the limits of what is possible“And Diana Nyad is like that,” explains Vassarhelyi.
“Rescue and Free Solo focused on one man or a group of men. And for a while we were looking at: How would that play out in a woman? What would that look like, and how would that be different?”
Who is Diana Nyad?
- The long-distance swimmer rose to fame in 1975 when she swam around Manhattan.
- In 1979, he swam 164 kilometers from Bimini, Bahamas, to Florida in 27.5 hours, setting an open water swimming distance record.
- She retired from competitive swimming at the age of 30 and spent the next three decades as a sports broadcaster.
- In 2011, he came out of retirement to attempt to become the first person to swim from Cuba to Key West, Florida, without a shark cage.
- It took three more attempts over three years, but he finally completed the feat in 2013, at the age of 64, after a harrowing 53-hour swim.
- But he has been a divisive figure among endurance swimmers, due to controversy over some of his claims.
Typically, in movies, anyone other than the main character is referred to as a supporting character, and the person playing them is referred to as a supporting actor.
This title has never been more appropriate than in the case of Stoll, who has been Nyad’s biggest support, year after year, as she continues to navigate alongside her friend as she pursues her goal.
“I was in the supporting role,” Stoll agrees. “In her head, we did it together. In my head, I saw her doing it.”.
“Over years of trying and training, Diana and I were on the same page,” he recalls. “We can argue, but I don’t think we’ve ever argued once.” [durante ese tiempo]. I tend to get very angry, but during those years I didn’t feel angry.
One of the most interesting aspects of the film is how Nyad overcomes the dangers. For example, sharks are scared away thanks to a penetrating audio signal sent from the boat.
However, a jellyfish stung him on his forearm and neck, causing him severe shortness of breath, and ended his third attempt.
For his next swim, he wore a specially made protective mask.
Its ultimate success in 2013 was so extraordinary that some critics raised questions.
Did he really not hold on to the boat at any time to rest his body? Could he have done it without help in such a short time?
The World Open Water Swimming Federation said there was a “significant gap” in successful swimming records, and this had not been officially ratified. Guinness World Records also canceled its recognition.
Moreover, Nyad had been accused before Exaggerate or make misleading statements about swimmingand has been described as “the scourge of the open water swimming community.”
But his team attributed their achievement to the rapid flow of the Gulf Stream in their favour, and Nyad dismissed doubts, saying: “I swam. We did it, with our team we did it from the rocks of Cuba to the beach in Florida, in an impeccable and ethical environment.”
The Open Water Swimmers Federation also supported Nyad and said There is no evidence that he cheated.
Stoll supplied Naiad with food and liquids from the ship. He had assistants, including chief navigator John Bartlett (played by Rhys Ifans in the film).
“One of the rules was no sarcasm,” Stoll recalls. “And you can’t tell the timing either. But we were definitely a team. If everyone did their job the way it was supposed to be done, it would be successful.”
in general, The film was well received by criticsMany of them praised Bening’s portrayal of the stubborn and unapologetic character.
“Bening’s portrayal of Nyad is the best she’s ever done, perfectly embracing the athlete’s stubbornness and strong will,” Collider’s Isabella Soares wrote.
“congratulations for [la guionista Julia] Maureen Lee Lenker of Entertainment Weekly wrote, “Cox and the entire team never shied away from the tough sides of Diana’s character for ‘Acceptance’.”
But speaking more broadly about the film, he added: “Nyad is simply trying to do too much. Every attempt at swimming should be a thriller. What is at stake in every moment are exciting scenes. But this is being undermined by the acceleration of issues in other areas“
Nyad herself told the Los Angeles Times that she was “impressed” with the film, but couldn’t talk about it further because she is part of the Actors Guild of America, whose members are currently on strike.
Stoll says the film is “very” true to reality. He adds: “There are other aspects to Diana’s personality because she is very diverse, but the film expresses her personality in every way.”
Nyad is a difficult character to like, and her portrayal in the film does nothing to soften it. “It was important to create a complete picture. You never see roles like this for women.”Vassarhelyi explains.
It’s not hard to imagine Bening receiving a fifth Academy Award nomination for the role. “I mean, God willing, right? God willing,” Vassarhelyi says.
The race for Best Actress is very crowded this year, with possible competition from Emma Stone, Carey Mulligan, Lily Gladstone and Sandra Holler, among others.
“I don’t know, I think the awards are magical, but I would say the acting [de Bening] He definitely deserves great appreciation,” reflects the co-director.
“He trained for more than a year, and did not hesitate to play a complex character that you might not like all the time. “I was incredibly impressed by the way his body is inhabiting him at 64 years old.”
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