John-Krasinski-01Universal Pictures has given the green light to Whales, setting  John Krasinski to join Drew Barrymore in the Ken Kwapis-directed fact-based film about the 1988 rescue of a trio of California gray whales that got trapped under the ice of the Arctic Circle.

Krasinski will play a small town newspaper reporter who breaks the story. Barrymore plays a Greenpeace activist, and they turn the potential tragedy into an international story. The incident created a temporary Cold War thaw as President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev found a common cause. They interceded to save the whales. Jack Amiel and Michael Begler wrote the script. The film is produced by Anonymous Content’s Steve Golin and Michael Sugar and Working Title’s Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Liza Chasin.

Universal toppers Adam Fogelson and Donna Langley are scrutinizing films carefully, and this one got the thumbs up for its family appeal. I’ve heard production is planned for the fall, but that’s dependent on when Krasinski is free from The Office. Krasinski is currently in New York, shooting the Luke Greenfield-directed romantic comedy Something Borrowed alongside Kate Hudson and Ginnifer Goodwin. Kwapis has directed Krasinski in a dozen episodes of The Office, and also directed the forgettable License to Wed.