Warren Brown has revealed it is ‘an honour’ to portray Captain Matthew Webb, as the first picture from the film The Greatest Englishman is released.
The British actor, best known for playing DS Ripley in BBC drama Luther, strips down to a woollen swimsuit as he takes the leading role of the retired merchant seaman, who became the first-ever person to swim the English Channel in 1875.
Warren said: “Being a part of this project has been a fantastic experience. Captain Webb was a brave and courageous man who made the impossible happen through sheer determination and courage and it has been an honour to bring his story to life.”
Steve Oram, Terry Mynott, Hannah Tointon, Tom Stourton and newcomer Georgia Maguire also star in The Greatest Englishman, which tells the story of Matthew’s struggle to define himself.
The film, which has been written by Jemma Kennedy, is directed by Justin Hardy and features a soundtrack by Mercury Prize nominees British Sea Power.
The director said: “Captain Webb is a largely forgotten British hero. He attempted to swim the English Channel when the very idea was seen as beyond impossible, equipped only with his moustache, doses of brandy and a wire wool swimsuit.
“We want to tell the story of a classic underdog who fought against all odds to make it to the other side.”
Captain Matthew survived fierce winds, treacherous currents and multiple jellyfish stings when he undertook the challenge to swim from Dover to the shores of France, a crossing that took almost 22 hours and spanned 39 miles.
The Greatest Englishman will be released in 2014.