HOLLYWOOD – Ron Howard’s new Moby Dick film based on the true events that inspired Moby Dick isn’t called Moby Dick.
In the Heart of the Sea, Ron Howard’s new Moby Dick movie, isn’t based on the Herman Melville novel Moby Dick (or The Whale), but instead is based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s non-fiction book In the Heart of the Sea, which revealed the true story on which Melville based his classic big American novel.
We spoke to Ron Howard on the USS Exec off the Nantucket Sound.
So Ron this is a film about Moby Dick?
Yes. And no.
We are looking at the true origin story of the novel if you like. Herman Melville is played by Ben Whishaw and he listen to a story told by Brendan Gleeson about a whale hunt he witnessed as a young man. So we follow the hunt and all the adventures which ensues. Chris Hemsworth is the harpooner and so on.
So the story is an origin story?
Yes. But not of Moby Dick the whale. It’s an origin story of the novel Moby Dick.
Couldn’t you just do a film of Moby Dick?
We thought about that but there have been several. And plus the actual book Moby Dick isn’t actually that good. Everyone knows the story and so there are a lot of problems. I mean the book would be full of spoilers for instance.
Good. So when we looked at the real story of what happened, what amazed me was how much better I could do a job of telling the story of what happened than Herman Melville. And so that’s what I decided to do. Also these days, calling a film Moby Dick, you’re basically asking them to make a porn parody of it.
In the Heart of the Sea is in cinemas.