Ron Howard’s ‘Heart of the Sea’ Underway Ahead of ‘Inferno’

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In The Heart of the SeaProduction is underway on Ron Howard‘s adaptation of Nathaniel Philbrick’s fact-based book, “In The Heart of the Sea“, telling the true story of the 19th century whaling vessel Essex, which eventually served as the inspiration for Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick”. Titled Heart of the Sea, the film will feature Howard’s Rush star, Chris Hemsworth, as the vessel’s veteran first mate Owen Chase with Benjamin Walker (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) as its inexperienced Captain, George Pollard, Cillian Murphy as second mate Matthew Joy and Ben Whishaw (Skyfall‘s Q) as novelist Herman Melville.

Here’s the official plot:

In the winter of 1820, the New England whaling ship Essex was assaulted by something no one could believe: a whale of mammoth size and will, and an almost human sense of vengeance. The real-life maritime disaster would inspire Melville’s “Moby-Dick”. But that told only half the story. Heart of the Sea reveals the encounter’s harrowing aftermath, as the ship’s surviving crew is pushed to their limits and forced to do the unthinkable to stay alive. Braving storms, starvation, panic and despair, the men will call into question their deepest beliefs, from the value of their lives to the morality of their trade, as their captain searches for direction on the open sea and his first mate still seeks to bring the great whale down.

Joining those listed above are Tom Holland (The Impossible), Brendan Gleeson (Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1) and Jordi Molla (Riddick).

I’d actually thought Howard was moving from Rush (which goes wide this weekend) to the adaptation of Dan Brown’s Inferno bringing back Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, a film already set for a December 12, 2015 release, but I guess that one can wait a little longer.

Ed Zwick was previously attached to direct Heart of the Sea, but eventually dropped off the project. The script Zwick would have worked from had been written by Marshall Herskovitz (The Last Samurai) while the latest adaptation was penned by Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver (Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and Charles Leavitt who, ironically enough, wrote Blood Diamond for Zwick.

Heart of the Sea does not yet have a release date, but I think it’s safe to bet a fourth quarter 2014 release is in the cards.