The story of the whaleship Essex was a famous one in the early 19th century, but in the past century and a half, it’s been overshadowed a bit by the fictional Pequod, on which Ishmael and Captain Ahab hunted Moby Dick. But Ron Howard and Chris Hemsworth are determined to see that the Essex gets its day in the sun—before, of course, it’s attacked and destroyed by a villainous whale.
The Essex sailed out of Nantucket in August of 1819 with a 21-man crew and sank in the middle of the South Pacific, 2,000 miles west South America, after a massive sperm whale destroyed it. And in the trailer for Ron Howard’s In The Heart Of The Sea, we get our first glimpse of the film version of the Essex’s story. The trailer is full of incredible, and legitimately horrifying, maritime imagery, as ropes tighten, anchors crash through a ship’s bow, storms rage, starving men smush raw fish into their faces, and Hemsworth—as first mate Owen Chase, whose memoir The Narrative Of The Most Extraordinary And Distressing Shipwreck Of The Whale-Ship Essex inspired Herman Melville to write Moby Dick (and, nearly two hundred years later, a generation of McSweeney’s writers to come up with similarly longwinded and over-explanatory titles for their own memoirs)—narrating the story of survival, horror, lessons-learned, and big, mean whales.