Already this year, Chris Hemsworth has twisted the classic fantasy in Snow White and the Huntsman, saved the earth in The Avengers and even turned over the horror genre in The Cabin in the Woods. While he has yet to prove he can be a box-office draw by himself, the time is coming soon as Deadline reports he’s attached to lead a new project inspired by Herman Melville‘s Moby Dick.
Also an inspiration for Peter Berg‘s Battleship, for better or worse, the film is titled In the Heart of the Sea and adapted from Nathaniel Philbrick‘s novel. The story, pulled from history, would give Hemsworth a heroic role aboard a “Nantucket whaling ship the Essex, which was stalked and ultimately destroyed by a sperm whale in 1820. Stranded thousands of miles from home, the crew struggled to survive; they were lost at sea for 90 days. Eight were rescued.”
Scripted by Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond, the upcoming The Seventh Son), the project may move ahead at DreamWorks, with Snow White producer Joe Roth attached. It sounds like an epic story, a mix of The Perfect Storm and Castaway or Lost (minus the supernatural stuff) and something the ruff and tumble Hemsworth could fit right in with. But it’s not the only Moby Dick-centered project in Hollywood.
Variety reports that Universal is also headed to the sea, as they move forward on their own Moby Dick adaptation, with Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter director Timur Bekmambetov. The studio has brought on Aaron Guzikowski, who last worked on their Contraband, to draft the latest version as he works with the Wanted director.
The production budget is said to be “scaled back” as this feature will focus on previous destruction by the infamous whale that takes out our lead Captain Ahab’s ship. Aside from the shift out of first-person, this will also make the central “more charismatic, rather than just hell-bent on revenge.” While Contraband didn’t do anything new for the genre, I was somewhat surprised at how well it moved, so I’d be interested to see what Guzikowski does here.