The Cove (2009)

Shallow Water. Deep Secret.

Isabel as herself


Director: Louie Psihoyos
Writer: Mark Monroe
Co-starring: Joe Chisholm, Mandy-Rae Cruikshank, Charles Hambleton, Simon Hutchins, Kirk Krack, Ric O’Barry, Dave Rastovich, Hannah Fraser, Hayden Panettiere
Genre: Documentary
Filming: Filmed at various points since 2007
Budget: $2.5m
Box Office: Made $57,640 on it’s opening weekend in the US (on 4 screens), and £17,956 in the UK (27 screens). Managed a total of AUD 20,563 total in Australia on 10 screens. Made $857,005 in the US plus $305,417 outside the US, coming to a total of $1,162,422 .
Runtime: 94mins


The largest supplier of dolphins in the world is located in the picturesque town of Taijii, Japan. But the town has a dark, horrifying secret that it doesn’t want the rest of the world to know. There are guards patrolling the cove, where the dolphin capturing takes place, who prevent any photography. The only way to stop the evil acts of this company and the town that protects it is to expose them….and that’s exactly what the brave group of activists in The Cove intend to do.Armed with state-of-the-art surveillance equipment, the members of the small group, led by the most famous dolphin trainer in the world, devise a covert plan to infiltrate the cove to document the horrifying events that happen there. Along the way, they uncover what may be the largest health crisis facing our planet— the poisoning of our seas. Part environmental documentary, part horror film, part spy thriller, The Cove is as suspenseful as it is enlightening.


International Release Dates

US – July 31st 2009 (limited)
Australia – August 20th 2009
France – September 30th 2009
UK – October 23rd 2009
Japan – July 3rd 2010



Photos: coming soon
Videos: Trailer #1



• The documentary features brief footage of the protests Isabel was involved in in Taiji, Japan, in 2007.
• One piece of the state-of-the-art surveillance equipment that was used was special camouflaged (rock-like) cameras that helped capture some of the footage in the cove. They were created by Kerner Optical (previously the Industrial Light and Magic model shop).
The Cove won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in February 2010. Louie Psihoyos, Fisher Stevens and Ric O’Barry were on hand to accept the award, but they were cut off prematurely when O’Barry held up a banner encouraging viewers to text DOLPHIN to 44144, so they would receive news about the dolphin hunt in Taiji.
The Cove won a further 22 awards in 2009-2010, including from the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards, Directors Guild of America, National Board Of Review and the Sundance Film Festival.
• Since the release of the film, more and more people – mainly non-Japanese – have visited the town of Taiji to protest against the hunting or to film it.
• In September 2009, shortly after the release of this documentary, Taiji temporarily suspended it’s dolphin hunt. Many attributed this to the publicity and effect this documentary had around the world. Unfortunately, they later resumed the hunt, and it still continues.
• A Japanese version of The Cove was also made, with Japanese voices rather than subtitles.


Quotes From Isabel, Cast & Crew

» Isabel Lucas“If more people would take the opportunity to see how magnificent these creatures are – they wouldn’t be able to shut out that this is happening”.

» Ric O’Barry“I never planned on being an activist. One thing leads to another, and now if there’s a dolphin in trouble anywhere in the world, my phone will ring.”

– Read more of Isabel’s quotes on dolphin hunting and her experience in Taijii on our Charities page here.



The New York Times: “”The Cove” is much more than just a record of that adventure. Like the director’s cover story, the movie is a Trojan horse: an exceptionally well-made documentary that unfolds like a spy thriller, complete with bugged hotel rooms, clandestine derring-do and mysterious men in gray flannel suits.”

Chicago Sun Times: “”The Cove,” a heartbreaking documentary, describes how Richard O’Barry, director Louie Psihoyos and a team of adventurers penetrated the tight security around the Taiji cove and obtained forbidden footage of the mass slaughter of dolphins. There are many documentaries angry about the human destruction of the planetary peace. This is one of the very best — a certain Oscar nominee. It includes a great many facts about the craven International Whaling Commission and many insights into the mistreatment of dolphins; Simon Hutchins, who has specialized in the subject for the London Telegraph, is especially helpful.”

Rolling Stone: “The Cove plays like a thriller. It has the breathless pace of a Bourne movie, but none of the comfort of fiction. This is documentary filmmaking at its most exciting and purposeful.”

The Huffington Post: “Not since An Inconvenient Truth has a room been silenced into such abject shock coupled with an intense desire to act. The Cove accomplishes exactly what great documentaries are supposed to — it moves you, engages you, thrills you, enrages you.” “The Cove is a film that will make a difference – it’s impossible not to respond to its message, which is to express outrage and demand the slaughter be stopped.”

The Japan Times: “It may burn your eyes and tear at your nerve tendons but at the risk of sounding trite, bearing witness is the very least we can do.”



Isabel attended two screenings for the film in July 2009, in Los Angeles and New York. She didn’t do any interviews for the film upon it’s release in 2009, but did speak to several press after the Taiji protests back in 2007.

Isabel Lucas Online‘s Press page (related: 2007 interviews)
Isabel Lucas Online‘s 2007 video interviews (coming soon)



Related Links

News & Updates for The Cove at Isabel Lucas Online
Isabel Lucas Online‘s Charity page

Official Site
Official UK Site
Official French Site
Official Australian Site
Official Japanese Site
The Cove: Take Action Nowwhat you can do
Wikipedia – includes links to related information
Sundance Film Festival information page

Last Updated: March 19th 2011