Exclusive: Adrian Grenier Searches for the Loneliest Whale
Every so often a story surfaces that is so captivating it has the inability to be ignored. Such is the case of the lonely whale – a blue whale that for over 20 years has been navigating the seas entirely alone due to the fact that its ‘voice’ transmits noise at 52 hertz, as opposed to the typical 15 – 20 hertz heard from other blue whales, making it the loneliest whale in the world. Adrian Grenier’s documentary 52: The Search for the Loneliest Whale in the World – whose Kickstarter just launched today – aims to not only share the story of the lonely whale, but also to meditate on what this means to humanity and to the environment. Read our exclusive interview below.
What is the pursuit of the documentary?
We’re gonna tell the story of the loneliest whale in the world; a whale that speaks another language than other whales, so he’s been calling out his whole life and never once received a response. It’s a kind of story that everyone can relate to, and somehow the lonely whale has this innate ability to inspire empathy in us immediately – the minute you hear the story you soften and want to reach out and connect. I think it’s our inherent desire to understand and connect and to be able to speak out and be heard, so the story is certainly relevant to us humans.
We’re also going to fund a scientific expedition to go out and study why this whale might be speaking a different language – scientists speculate that it might have something to do with ocean noise pollution. Oceans are becoming increasingly noisy because of manmade noise like commercial shipping, military experiments, and oil exploration, so we begin to better understand what our lonely whale is saying; about the plight of whales, the health of our oceans and the things that we take for granted or may not be able to understand. Humans have a great ability to put themselves in the shoes -or the fins- of others and try to understand what they might be going through, and that’s such an important feature of the human experience: to be able to work together even if you are different and connect on a very common level.
As you say, it’s a theme that everyone can connect to in one way or another. Are you going to portray the effect that this story has had on humans as well?
Yeah, certainly that’s part of the story. I mean we are the story in a lot of ways – the whale is just an entrance point to connecting with one another. Whether or not you’re on one end of the spectrum – in an esoteric point of view that thinks that the lonely whale certainly is lonely – or if you’re on the opposite end of the spectrum where you’re more science-minded, it doesn’t matter. What really matters is what the story is telling us as humans. We learn about ourselves through story-telling, through narratives, so this is the kind of story that I think will bring us together and allow us to better understand ourselves and get us to take a step back and think about what we’re missing, what we’re not understanding. If we could understand the voice of the lonely whale or of the oceans that we’re ignoring what would they be saying? And it’s a lot that the oceans and the lonely whale are saying that we’re either ignoring or misunderstanding. We’re trying to translate that through the story.
The timing is perfect because we’re dealing so much with the issues of pollution, global-warming, and the loss of human connections because of technology.
There’s certainly a parallel between technological distractions and our ability to truly connect with one another. We always say that if the oceans were the internet we’d all be the lonely whale. That’s certainly a theme, but ultimately there’s a positive opportunity for us to – through the lonely whale – connect with one another and better serve each other and the environment.
What was it that captivated you personally about the lonely whale?
I heard two lines of this story and I was immediately drawn in, and those are the kinds of stories that I want to pursue – the stories that conjure an emotional reaction and also have fascinating science element, a fascinating history of how we came to know the whale. But the relationship that we have had with whales allegorically over history is so important as well and so fascinating to explore. For me personally – I think you’d have to be sociopathic to not feel something about this story.
If you could have lived through any three historical moments which would you choose?
I’d love to have watched Jesus being born, I’d like to have been there when we first walked on the moon, and I would have liked to be there when we first discovered electricity.
Finally, I have to ask because the Entourage movie is coming out this year. What was it like reuniting and doing that again?
Well, you know these guys are family and it was like a big family reunion. You don’t really have to prepare for that, you just show up and it all just falls into place. After ten years of doing this show and now a movie, it’s like a well oiled machine. We have the same crew for the most part and the same cast obviously and we are just so lucky to have the opportunity to do it again.
Help find the lonely whale, donate to the kickstarter here
Adrian Grenier photographed exclusively for Milk Made by Adrian Mesko. Creative Direction by Paul Bui. Grooming by Jodie Boland.