Given his prominent roles in both The Avengers and Snow White and the Huntsman, which have been two of the biggest financial successes so far this summer, actor Chris Hemsworth finds himself being in the enviable position of looking like a box office commodity. Basically, he’s the anti-Taylor Kitsch (sorry Tim Riggins, but it’s true). Given all of this newfound star power and perceived money drawing ability, Hemsworth’s name is the perfect asset to be used to bring a once-shelved project back from the brink. Or, at least, that’s what producers Joe Roth, Paula Weinstein, Will Ward, and Palak Patel are hoping. They’ve just attached him to star in a film called In the Heart of the Sea, which was originally being developed by Intermedia back in 2000, and has been slipping in and out of developmental hell ever since.
In the Heart of the Sea is an adaptation of a Nathaniel Philbrick book of the same name, which tells the true story of a whaling ship named the Essex that was stalked and destroyed by an evil, vindictive sperm whale back in 1820. If that story sounds a bit familiar (and shame on you if it doesn’t!), that’s because this is the same disaster that inspired Herman Melville’s literary classic, “Moby Dick.” The difference between this text and that is that Philbrick’s book is a much more fact-based account of the tragedy which stemmed from his reading of little-known documents chronicling the tragedy as well as a written account by the ship’s cabin boy.
Hemsworth is said to be playing a first mate who loses the role of ship captain to a rival with better connections. As disaster strikes, however, it’s Hemsworth’s character who steps up and manages to lead 20 of the ship’s crew to safety. “Safety” being a relative term, meaning deserted islands and forced cannibalism. The story, which was adapted by Blood Diamond scribe Charles Leavitt, is also said to be a rather vicious indictment of the New England whaling industry of the 1800s. It’s about time somebody took them to task.
What’s your input, gentle readers? In his roles as Thor and the Huntsman Hemsworth has definitely proven he has the grit and charm to play an awesome action hero. But has he gotten to the point in his career where his name will resurrect a project that’s had a history of troubles? Or is this just going to be the latest chapter in the doomed quest to adapt “In the Heart of the Sea”? [Deadline Banyule]