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Director Ron Howard lit the world on fire yesterday when it was announced he’d be reteaming with Tom Hanks on the Dan Brown adaptation Inferno, and while that project will probably overshadow everything else until it happens, let’s not forget that the next film he’ll be working on is the historical whaling epic In the Heart of the Sea. (I mean, how could you?) TheWrap reports the already stacked cast has possibly grown by two, as Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince) is in negotiations to star, and Howard has his sights set on Ben Whishaw (Skyfall) for a role in the film.
Not to overshadow Dillane, best remembered by Harry Potter> fans as Tom Riddle, but Whishaw is the bigger draw here, as he’s coming off of a fine turn as Q in last year’s Skyfall and as a handful of characters in the Wachowski’s Cloud Atlas. Howard wants him to play author Herman Melville, whose literary classic Moby Dick was in part inspired by the events detailed in the film’s source material, Nathaniel Philbrick’s 2001 historical chronicle In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex. I’m not sure how big a role Melville would have, considering the central conflict happened 30 years before his novel was published, but I’m sure Howard has some kind of a wraparound story for this film. But since this deal isn’t finalized yet, we won’t hang our hat on Whishaw’s presence.
Dillane, meanwhile, is set to play Coffin, an insubordinate crew hand and cousin to George Pollard (Benjamin Walker). With a large crew like this all set on a boat in the middle of the ocean, I really hope the characters are all fleshed out, and that Coffin isn’t just a crew hand by the time the film is finished. The role should give Dillane a boost though, since his only other film work since Harry Potter has been the recent British comedic drama Papadopoulos & Sons.
Whishaw, meanwhile, has been keeping busy with a role in Terry Gilliam’s upcoming sci-fi comedy drama Zero Theorem, as well as a starring role in Gimme the Loot director Hong Khaou’s next film Lilting. Perhaps he’ll reprise his role of Q in the next Bond movie. I mean, I’m sure if they ask, he’d take it.
In the Heart of the Sea tells the disastrous story of the whaleship Essex and its crew, all of whom were stranded for 90 days after a giant sperm whale crashed into their ship. And you can bet things got pretty rough, to say the least. The film also stars Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Gleeson, Tom Holland and Sam Keeley.
The film is supposed to go into production right around the release of Howard’s next film, the NASCAR driver biopic Rush, which hits theaters on September 27, 2013.