Before he ever took hold of Mjolnir to become Thor, Chris Hemsworth knew what it was to face death as George Kirk, a man thrust into command at the start of 2009’s Star Trek reboot. He’s now attached to stare down real challenges on a ship again with In The Heart Of The Sea.
A tragic fact-based tale of courage, cannibalism and one very angry cetacean, Nathaniel Philbrick’s book charts the fate of Nantucket whaling ship the Essex, which was stalked and destroyed by a sperm whale in 1820. The crew of 20 were lost at sea for 90 days, during which they were forced to draw lots to decide which among them got eaten. The real story was the inspiration for Herman Melville's Moby Dick.
Hemsworth would play the ship’s first mate, who had been captain until a rival supplanted him. But as the situation grows more and more desperate, he takes charge and helps to save as many men as he can.
Despite that seemingly compelling subject matter, the project also brings serious logistical issues and some dark turns in the tale, which might explain why it has bobbed on the development seas for more than a decade. Back in 2000, Barry Levinson and Paula Weinstein tried to get a version scripted by Blood Diamond’s Charles Leavitt on to screens. That plan sunk, but the film resurfaced at New Regency with Ed Zwick attached to direct. Currently, Weinstein and Joe Roth are backing it, and DreamWorks is among the studios vying to give it a shot. Hemsworth’s presence should help push it along, but it’s still very much floating in limbo, eyeing up its passengers as it goes...