Hollywood seems to see Benjamin Walker in period roles. Last year he played Abraham Lincoln in the unfortunate “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” and will next be seen in the 1960s piece “Muhammed Ali’s Greatest Fight.” He’s been working on “The Missionary,” a Cold War set TV movie, and is attached to star in “The Great Wall,” an epic set in 15th century China. Don’t forget that he made his name playing 19th century president Andrew Jackson on Broadway, and also just finished a run on the Great White Way in the 1950s classic “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,” with Scarlett Johansson. I guess mid 20th century is as close as he gets to contemporary.
My point–yes, we’re finally here–is that Deadline says Walker is in talks to star in another period piece, Ron Howard’s adaptation of Nathaniel Philbrick’s “In the Heart of the Sea.” The 19th century whaling drama already has Chris Hemsworth and Tom Holland in the cast.
Not familiar with “In the Heart of the Sea?” Here’s what Amazon says:
The ordeal of the whaleship Essex was an event as mythic in the nineteenth century as the sinking of the Titanic was in the twentieth. In 1819, the Essex left Nantucket for the South Pacific with twenty crew members aboard. In the middle of the South Pacific the ship was rammed and sunk by an angry sperm whale. The crew drifted for more than ninety days in three tiny whaleboats, succumbing to weather, hunger, disease, and ultimately turning to drastic measures in the fight for survival. Nathaniel Philbrick uses little-known documents-including a long-lost account written by the ship’s cabin boy-and penetrating details about whaling and the Nantucket community to reveal the chilling events surrounding this epic maritime disaster. An intense and mesmerizing read, In the Heart of the Sea is a monumental work of history forever placing the Essex tragedy in the American historical canon.
Those drastic measures include cannibalism, by the way. Yum.
Hemsworth stars as a first mate who’s qualified to be captain, but loses the gig to a rich, better connected young man who then makes bad decisions that contribute to the disaster. That would be the role Walker is up for.
They’ve been trying to adapt this book forever, or at least since it came out in 2001. Ed Zwick was attached for a while, but it looks like the genre-hopping Howard might be the one to finally get it done.