Ben Walker Spies In The Heart Of The Sea

In talks for true-life ship tale

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter

He was last seen on the big screen battling the undead in the distinctly mixed Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Now it seems Benjamin Walker will need to find his sea legs, because his next foe could well be an angry whale and the cruel logic of survival if he joins the cast of Ron Howard’s In The Heart Of The Sea.

Howard already has Chris Hemsworth and The Impossible’s Tom Holland set to star in the based-on-truth tale of the Nantucket whaling ship the Essex, whose tragic fate served as the inspiration for Moby Dick.

In possibly the worst thing to happen to something called Essex until The Only Way Is Essex arrived, the ship was destroyed in 1820 by a vengeful sperm whale.

Stranded in a lifeboat thousands of miles from home, 20 of the surviving crew (the survivors included the captain and first officer) planned to make for an isolated tropical island, an idea rejected by the captain because of rumours of flesh-eating savages. The resulting delay in their rescue led to them having to become cannibals to survive. The irony, in this case, is edible.

Blood Diamond writer Charles Leavitt adapted Nathaniel Philbrick’s book and Howard is set to kick off shooting later this year. If he signs on, Walker will play George Pollard, who uses his family connections to secure the captaincy over the more experienced Chase (Hemsworth). He most recently worked on Stephen Frears’ latest, Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight and is now shooting TV Movie The Missionary.