Ron Howard‘s adaptation of the Nathaniel Philbrick high-seas drama will bow wide on March 13, 2015. So far In The Heart Of The Sea has the date to itself. The film from Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures marks a reteam for Howard and Oscar-nominated screenwriter Peter Morgan, who previously collaborated on Frost/Nixon and the racing pic Rush; Morgan came aboard Heart Of The Sea and worked with Howard on new drafts of Charles Leavitt’s original adaptation. A blend of fact and fiction, In The Heart Of The Sea describes in great detail how the Whaleship Essex was stalked and attacked by a sperm whale in 1820, leaving the crew adrift for 90 days and forced to turn to cannibalism. The attack on the boat largely influenced Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy, Ben Whishaw, Tom Holland, Brendan Gleeson and Jordi Molla star.
EXCLUSIVE: Up and coming British actress Charlotte Riley (Easy Virtue, World Without End) has been cast in Warner Bros. and Village Roadshow’s true story tale In The Heart Of The Sea, which Ron Howard is directing from a script by Charles Leavitt. Riley’s coming off another big WB pic, the Doug Liman-directed Edge of Tomorrow, opposite Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt. In Howard’s Moby Dick-esque drama Riley will play Peggy, the beautiful and pregnant wife of Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth), a crew member aboard the whaling ship Essex. When the ship is attacked by a sperm whale, a group of survivors stay afloat for 90 days enduring disease, starvation and eventual cannibalism. Riley is repped by CAA and Conway Van Gelder Grant.
Cheyenne Jackson (United 93, Behind the Candelabra) has landed the lead in indie drama The Song. He’ll play Ben Cantor, a man who bets it all to enter a songwriting contest reality show against the better judgment of his wife, boss, and banker. Andy Lauer is directing the pic from a script by David Kauffman. Kauffman is producing alongside Page Brown. Jackson is set to sing original songs in the music-themed pic, which begins filming this month in San Antonio, NM. He’s repped by ICM and …
EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-nominated screenwriter Peter Morgan has stepped onto In The Heart Of The Sea, Ron Howard’s adaptation of the Nathaniel Philbrick high-seas drama for Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures. Principal photography starts in the UK on September 10 and marks a reteam for Howard and Morgan who previously collaborated on Frost/Nixon and the upcoming racing pic Rush. Charles Leavitt wrote the original Heart Of The Sea adaptation and Morgan recently came in to work extensively with Howard on some redrafts. Philbrick’s source material tells the fate of the crew of the Whaleship Essex. It blends fact and fiction, describing in palpable detail how the ship was stalked and attacked by a sperm whale in 1820, leaving the crew adrift for 90 days and forced to turn to cannibalism. The attack on the boat largely influenced Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
Morgan’s involvement also marks a reteam with Chris Hemsworth, who stars in Heart Of The Sea and Rush. Rush, on which Morgan is also a producer, will be screened as a gala presentation in Toronto. His other upcoming projects include a collaboration with Ang Lee on a look at the boxing world of the 1960s and 1970s, as seen through the prism of its biggest rivalries and greatest fights. That 3D picture is set up at Universal. He’s also working on a project with Film4 about Salman Rushdie and the …
EXCLUSIVE: Cillian Murphy jas joined the cast of In The Heart Of The Sea, the Ron Howard-directed adaptation of the Nathaniel Philbrick book for Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures. Brian Grazer is producing with Joe Roth, Paula Weinstein and William Ward, with Palak Patel exec producing. Murphy will play Matthew Joy, second mate on the whale ship Essex. Citing reports of cannibals in the Society Islands, Joy and first mate Owen Chase (Chris Hemsworth) convince first time Captain Pollard (Benjamin Walker) to sail to South America after an enraged sperm whale rams and sinks the Essex, leaving 21 crew members adrift in small boats, 3,000 miles from land. The film begins shooting around London in mid-September.
Murphy is currently at work on Wally Pfister’s Transcendence with Johnny Depp in New Mexico. He wrapped Cry/Fly, an indie opposite Jennifer Connelly and Mélanie Laurent and this fall stars in Peaky Blinders, a six-part miniseries for the BBC about the Shelby gang in 1920s Birmingham. He’ll next be seen in Broken, the British Independent Film Award-winning drama he stars in with Tim Roth, with Film Movement releasing in July in the U.S. Murphy is repped by CAA, the Lisa Richards Agency, Lou Coulson Associates and attorney David Weber.
EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is in talks with Benjamin Walker, who played the prexy in Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, to join Chris Hemsworth and Tom Holland in In The Heart Of The Sea, the Ron Howard-directed adaptation of the Nathaniel Philbrick book about the whale attack on the Essex which became the basis for Melville’s Moby Dick. Brian Grazer is producing with Joe Roth, Paula Weinstein and William Ward, with Palak Patel exec producing. Warner Bros is making the film with Village Roadshow Pictures. Walker is in talks to play George Pollard, the arrogant privileged son of a whaling family who attempts to use his family name to gain captaincy, and who butts heads with shipmate Chase (Hemsworth), who knows the job and the sea much better. Pollard’s rep is ruined because of a mishap with another ship and he is relegated to night watchmen duty for the rest of his life.
EXCLUSIVE: Brit youngster Tom Holland is moving from his breakout debut The Impossible to another watery high profile project. He’s been cast in Warner Bros.’ In The Heart Of The Sea, the long-gestating seafaring adventure helmed by Ron Howard from a script by Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond). Chris Hemsworth is starring in the pic adapted from Nathaniel Philbrick’s award-winning book In The Heart Of The Sea: The Tragedy Of The Whaleship Essex, an account of a whaling ship that was stalked and destroyed by a sperm whale in 1820. The tragedy left the crew of the Essex adrift for 90 days in the Pacific during which they turned to cannibalism before eight survivors made it home, an ordeal that partially influenced Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick.
Too busy breaking stuff this morning to eyeball the press releases, but here’s one worth noting: Paula Weinstein, who has forgotten more about producing that a lot of producers know about producing, has taken a job as EVP of Tribeca Enterprises. Weinstein, who has produced such films as The Perfect Storm, Analyze This and Blood Diamond, gets a nice landing place at a time when things are tough for producers, and when the good projects take so damn long. That includes In The Heart Of The Sea: The Tragedy Of The Whaleship Essex, the Nathaniel Philbrick book about the real story of the destruction unleashed by the white whale that informed Moby Dick. I first broke news about this project more than 12 years ago at Daily Variety, and this gritty grueling tale of shipwreck, courage and cannibalism has been through a who’s who of top directors over the years. Finally it looks like it might happen with Ron Howard at the helm and Chris Hemsworth in the starring role. What are you supposed to do for dough when you have to pay staff to develop these and other long-gestating pictures gestate and studio producer deals are as hard to find as white whales? Here’s the release: