A dramatic spec script from Moana writers Aaron and Jordan Kandell is drawing a lot of attention – including the attachment of Divergent actress Shailene Woodley, and possibly of director Baltasar Kormakur. The female led survival tale, titled Adrift, is currently courting financiers and distributors, with those involved hoping that deals will be locked down before the coming holiday break.
Adrift is based on the apparently true story of a couple that found extreme danger as they engaged in their shared expertise on the high seas. Experienced and expert sailors – Tami Oldham and Richard Sharp – were engaged to be married when they set out to achieve their dream of sailing round the world together. Just days after departing Tahiti, however, they sailed straight into a giant hurricane. Waking alone, and seriously injured, Tami finds her boat ruined, with no masts, communications, or means of navigation. She then endures a 41 day journey of survival to reach the safety of Hawaii.
The project is being described in many quarters as being ‘Gravity at sea’, but that would seem to be simply because this is a story of a woman surviving alone in a harsh environment. Indeed, beyond these basic generalizations, there do not seem to be many similarities between the two films. Where similarities do lie, is between Adrift and the 2012 film by Baltasar Kormakur, The Deep. In that drama, a fisherman is forced to try to swim home when his boat capsizes in the ocean off the coast of Iceland. In fact, the similarities are such that it could be perceived to be an odd choice for Kormakur to be circling this film.
Whether Baltasar Kormakur does ultimately take the helm on Adrift or not, the involvement of Shailene Woodley is not in question. Rather, this stands to become the film that helps give the actress a much-needed break into the realm of more mature cinematic fare, and a break out of the Young Adult literature mire in which she has been firmly ensconced for the past several years. If the casting of the character of Richard Sharp is as on-point as that of Woodley, then Adrift should be a very promising prospect when it finally reaches our screens.