“In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with twenty crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than ninety days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival.” That is the synopsis of the non-fiction book, In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex written by Nathaniel Philbrick. It is also the source material for Ron Howard’s latest film.
In the Heart of the Sea will star Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Cillian Murphy (Sunshine), Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges), and Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter). Tom Holland and Frank Dillane are also set to star.
The Wrap reports that two more actors are joining the film with Osy Ikhile and Ben Whishaw each signing on for a role. Ikhile will play a sailor named Peterson and Whishaw will be playing Herman Melville, the author of Moby Dick who found inspiration for his story while aboard the Essex. Whishaw, who’s on the up and coming list after starring in both Skyfall and Cloud Atlas, is a welcome addition to the film and seems like perfect casting for one of history’s most famous authors.
In the Heart of the Sea is gaining momentum with this casting news, and once Ron Howard wraps up the production and press for Rush, I expect him to move right along to this project. Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond) is working on the screenplay with Howard’s long-time collaborator, Brian Grazer, also producing.
What do you think of In the Heart of the Sea? Do you think it’s shaping up to be a project you’ll be following?
If you’re interested in buying the book, you can do so here.