EXCLUSIVE: Oscar-nominated screenwriter Peter Morgan has stepped onto In The Heart Of The Sea, Ron Howard’s adaptation of the Nathaniel Philbrick high-seas drama for Warner Bros and Village Roadshow Pictures. Principal photography starts in the UK on September 10 and marks a reteam for Howard and Morgan who previously collaborated on Frost/Nixon and the upcoming racing pic Rush. Charles Leavitt wrote the original Heart Of The Sea adaptation and Morgan recently came in to work extensively with Howard on some redrafts. Philbrick’s source material tells the fate of the crew of the Whaleship Essex. It blends fact and fiction, describing in palpable detail how the ship was stalked and attacked by a sperm whale in 1820, leaving the crew adrift for 90 days and forced to turn to cannibalism. The attack on the boat largely influenced Herman Melville’s Moby Dick.
Morgan’s involvement also marks a reteam with Chris Hemsworth, who stars in Heart Of The Sea and Rush. Rush, on which Morgan is also a producer, will be screened as a gala presentation in Toronto. His other upcoming projects include a collaboration with Ang Lee on a look at the boxing world of the 1960s and 1970s, as seen through the prism of its biggest rivalries and greatest fights. That 3D picture is set up at Universal. He’s also working on a project with Film4 about Salman Rushdie and the period when a fatwa was issued against the author following publication of 1988’s The Satanic Verses.