Directed by Ron Howard (Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind) and produced his longtime collaborator Brian Grazer, In the Heart of the Sea recounts the sinking of the American whaling ship Essex in 1820, which inspired Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick, published in 1851.
Chris Hemsworth (Thor, The Avengers) stars as Owen Chase, a first mate from the famous whale ship that wrote about the ordeal in Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex in 1821, and presumably served as the inspiration for Ishmael, Moby Dick’s narrator and the sole survivor of the Pequod.
This high seas tale also features Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Flags of Our Fathers) as Captain George Pollard, Jr., who served as the inspiration for the fanatical captain Ahab, Cillian Murphy (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception) as Matthew Joy, the second mate, Tom Holland as young Thomas Nickerson, the cabin boy, Brendan Gleeson as old Nickerson (Braveheart, Gangs of New York), and Ben Whishaw (Skyfall, Spectre) as Herman Melville himself.
With a screenplay by Charles Leavitt (Blood Diamond, K-Pax), and a screen story by Leavitt and Rick Jaffa (Jurassic World, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) & Amanda Silver (Jurassic World, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes), In the Heart of the Sea is based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s book In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaling ship Essex, published in 2000.
Howard’s behind the scenes creative team includes director of photography Anthony Dod Mantle (Rush, Slumdog Millionaire) production designer Mark Tildesley (Sunshine, 28 Days Later), film editors Daniel P. Hanley (Rush, Angels & Demons) and Mike Hill (The Dilemma, Frist/Nixon), and costume designer Julian Day (Rush, Control), with a musical score composed by Roque Baños (Evil Dead, The Machinist).
Although development dates back to 2000, with Barry Levinson (The Natural, Rain Man) set to direct, filming didn’t began until September 2013, and took place at Leavesden Studios in Hertfordshire, England and in the Canary Islands in La Gomera, Spain. Hemsworth stated that he and the other cast members lived on a diet of 500-600 calories per day in order to prepare for the role of a starving sailors.
Directed by Ron Howard and distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, In the Heart of the Sea was originally due out this past spring, but is now slated to hit theaters everywhere on December 11, 2015.
See the trailer for In the Heart of the Sea below.