Though his latest film, the racing pic Rush, isn’t even in theaters yet, Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard (A Beautiful Mind) is already entering production on his next project, a long-in-the-works adaptation of Nathaniel Philbrick’s 2000 bestseller In the Heart of the Sea, shortened to simply Heart of the Sea.
According to Warner Bros’ new press release, production on Heart of the Sea began in England on September 10th. Like Rush, Heart of the Sea is also a period piece and stars Chris Hemsworth as a famous figure from history. This time around, the Thor actor is portraying Owen Chase, the veteran first mate of the Nantucket whaling ship Essex who, after a brutal whale attack in the Pacific during the winter of 1820, struggles to keep other crew members alive while seeking vengeance against the creature.
In addition to Hemsworth, Heart of the Sea stars Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) as Captain George Pollard; Cillian Murphy (Inception) as second mate Matthew Joy; Tom Holland (The Impossible) and Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges) as sailor Tom Nickerson, seen at two different points in his life; and Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) as writer Herman Melville, whose novel Moby Dick was inspired by the Essex’s ordeal.
The film will be paced as an “action adventure,” as opposed to a straight period piece, with a script by Rise of the Planet of the Apes screenwriters Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver and Blood Diamond scribe Charles Leavitt.
The full plot synopsis for Heart of the Sea is below:
In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Melville’s Moby-Dick. But that told only half the story. “Heart of the Sea” reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.
With such a compelling true-history story and talented cast, I could see Heart of the Sea shaping up to be a real contender for awards attention when it’s released, which will likely be late next year. Will you be checking out this adaptation? Let us know in the comments section!