‘Old Man and the Sea’ movie will be filmed in the Dominican Republic this summer
St. Augustine boat builder is creating a vessel that will be used in an upcoming major motion picture about Ernest Hemingway, directed by and starring Andy Garcia.
John Lubbehusen owns the Old Florida Boat Company, and specializes in handcrafted wooden boats. He was contracted earlier this year by Garcia to build a 16-foot replica of an old fishing boat that will be used in Garcia’s upcoming film, “Hemingway and Fuentes.”
The movie, which will be filmed in the Dominican Republic this summer, centers on Ernest Hemingway and his boat captain, Gregorio Fuentes, and is set in 1950s Cuba. The story revolves around the writer’s creation of the literary classic, “The Old Man and the Sea,” which was the last of his novels published in his lifetime.
In the film, Anthony Hopkins will play Hemingway, Garcia will play Fuentes and Annette Bening will star as Hemingway’s fourth wife, Mary Walsh Hemingway. Garcia wrote the screenplay with the novelist’s niece, Hilary Hemingway.
Lubbehusen’s involvement started with a phone call a few months back.
“Someone that works with Andy had found me through a mutual friend,” Lubbehusen said Tuesday in his Riberia Street shop. “They heard I did island type boats, and got a hold of me and asked me if I’d be interested in the project. When I said yes, he had Andy give me a call.”
Since that time, he and Garcia have been in regular touch by telephone and text messages, Lubbehusen said.
“He was supposed to come to town a few weeks ago to check on the progress, but something came up,” he said. “He divides his time between Los Angeles and Miami, which is where he’s from.”
The boat, which is 16 feet long with a beam (width) of about six feet, is framed in mahogany and planked with Spanish cedar, he said. It will have a gaff-rigged sail.
“I’m trying to use materials that would have been found down there on the island at that time (the 1950s),” Lubbehusen said. “
Lubbehusen said he designed the boat, based on photographs of old Cuban fishing boats of that era sent to him by Garcia and Hilary Hemingway.
“Once we decided on a boat, I built a half hull model, and worked out the lines,” he said. “When I got the shape I wanted, I took the lines off this and I lofted it up to full scale on the floor. Then, when I had the drawings from that, I set up the framing based on that.”
Lubbehusen is doing the work mostly himself, though he said he has some help from time to time to expedite the build, which normally would take him six months, he said. For such a high-profile client, he’s finishing this one in less than two. He said he charges about $2,000 per foot to build a boat.
Lubbehusen, 60, who grew up in Michigan and Miami, has been around boats all of his life. He built his first boat as a teenager, and said it was something he knew instantly that he loved. He later became an architect and spent decades in that industry before giving it up and moving to St. Augustine to become a boat builder about three years ago. He’s also a licensed boat captain and has delivered yachts worldwide.
“When I decided to build boats, I was living in Gainesville,” he said. “I knew I needed to be somewhere around the water, and St. Augustine seemed like a natural choice. I love it here.”
Lubbehusen, a member of the St. Augustine Maritime Heritage Foundation, is also providing his boat-building expertise for the construction of a replica of a 16th-century Spanish vessel, known as a chalupa, at the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park. The 37-foot boat being recreated was a landing craft from the Spanish ships that once anchored offshore from the park, thought to be where Don Pedro Menendez and his party landed in 1565.
Lubbehusen said he’s had a lot of fun building the boat for Garcia’s film, and that he should be done with it in a couple of weeks.
“Andy wants to come to town, probably at the end of the month, to pick it up,” he said. “We’ll put it in the water ahead of time, of course, to make sure it floats.”
Category: DR News |