A background in documentaries is often a good basis for a career in narrative filmmaking, especially at crafting intelligent, informative, and entertaining biopics. Directors Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin have exactly that experience with hard-hitting docs such as Free Solo, Meru, and Wild Life to their credit. And now they turn their attention to Nyad, a narrative sports drama with a stellar cast led by Annette Bening and Jodie Foster.
Bening stars as the real-life Diana Nyad, who in 1979 at the age of 60, takes on the personal goal of swimming the 110 miles from Cuba to Florida.
Also in the cast is Rhys Ifans. The screenplay is by Julia Cox, based on Nyad’s autobiography Find A Way.
Here’s the synopsis: A remarkable true story of tenacity, friendship and the triumph of the human spirit, NYAD recounts a riveting chapter in the life of world-class athlete Diana Nyad. Three decades after giving up marathon swimming in exchange for a prominent career as a sports journalist, at the age of 60, Diana (four-time Academy Award nominee Annette Bening) becomes obsessed with completing an epic swim that always eluded her: the 110 mile trek from Cuba to Florida, often referred to as the “Mount Everest” of swims. Determined to become the first person to finish the swim without a shark cage, Diana goes on a thrilling, four-year journey with her best friend and coach Bonnie Stoll (two-time Academy Award winner Jodie Foster) and a dedicated sailing team.
Will Vasarhelyi and Chin find the same success with their narrative feature debut as they have crafting documentaries? Nyad recently had its world premiere at Telluride, and will open in theaters on October 20th. The film will then head to Netflix on November 3rd.