Photo Credit: Coming Soon
Director Ron Howard tells the proverbial whale of a tale with In the Heart of the Sea, which opened in theaters nationwide on December 10.
A true story of the Essex, a small Nantucket whaler that sailed around Cape Horn and into the far reaches of the Pacific where a massive whale attacked and ultimately sank the vessel, it was adapted from Nathanial Philbrick’s bestseller.
This is not a remake of Moby Dick as one might expect, though it was the Essex’s ordeal which inspired Herman Melville to write the legendary tale.
Along with Chris Hemsworth—who was declared Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine last year—the film stars Cillian Murphy, Benjamin Walker and Joseph Mawle, among others, as the early 19th-century whalers who find themselves adrift in small boats after one of their prey destroys their ship.
Of course, the other main character is the ginormous whale itself, whose smashing of the whaling boat places the entire crew’s life in danger.
Ron explained why the tale is not so far-fetched, noting that the Essex was “small for a whaling vessel the harpooned whale was unusually large, and probably rammed the ship as a perceived threat to a family of whales in his charge,” according to Daily News Film Critic Gary Thompson.
“Large males will ram other males, and they had been known to ram boats, and there were lots of stories of large males that were too big and too tough to catch and kill,” the director added.
Some have compared the story to Ron’s “Apollo 13,” and the two-time Oscar winner says there are similarities.
“At the outset,” Ron remarked, “[astronaut] Jim Lovell will do anything to get to the moon, then that dream is gone, now it’s about getting men home. It’s about personal ambition giving way to the necessities of leadership. Of course Tom [Hanks] was great in that role, and I think Chris is great in this as well.”
Chris says his role as Owen Chase is unlike any he’s played before. This was a “big challenge,” he told Parade, “I got swept up in the story.”
While some fans may be disappointed that there is little sex or skin involving the hunky star, Chris has certainly proven to be an interesting actor in any role, with a powerful screen presence.
In Heart of the Sea, the “heroic seaman,” writes the Associated Press, “is humbled, left a gaunt survivor,” which is the type of duality that defines the Australian as a “hunk but a family man (with three kids), an Avengers superhero but a talented comic actor.”