The story behind the search for 'the loneliest whale in the world'

New documentary "The Loneliest Whale: The Search For 52" takes audiences on a journey into the deep.
A new documentary is giving a voice to "the loneliest whale in the world." It all started in 1989 when the U.S. Navy discovered a mysterious sound in the Pacific Ocean at a frequency of 52 hertz.

This sound came from a solitary whale broadcasting at a frequency that no other whale could understand.

Now, "The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52" takes audiences on a deep sea adventure to find a creature that scientists believe has lived its life in solitude.

"There's one point in the film where we come upon this huge pod of whales," director, writer and producer Joshua Zeman said. "You always remember the first time seeing a whale, but how about the first time you see 100 whales? It was just mind-blowing."

This documentary got made thanks to crowdfunding. It took a village to bring it to the big screen, with 14 executive producers on the project, including Leonardo DiCaprio.

"A lot of people came together," Zeman said. "Adrian Grenier, the actor who helped us get together, is an executive producer on the film. We went out with Kickstarter. DiCaprio suddenly gives us $50,000 and suddenly, headlines all across the world [are] 'DiCaprio saves lonely whale.'"

The possibility of even finding the whale was an enormous undertaking.

"Then we get a call from this scientist, John Hildebrand, out of San Diego," Zeman said, "And he's like, 'We found the whale and it's in L.A.' You know, it's like waiting for its close-up. I couldn't believe it. It was just so ridiculous."

In the end, do they actually find the whale? Zeman says you need to watch to find out.

"It's maybe not the ending you might think," he said, "but it's really heartwarming and beautiful."

"The Loneliest Whale: The Search for 52" is in theaters July 9 and on digital July 16, 2021.
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