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: