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Moby Dick inspires BBC and Ron Howard

Both the BBC and director Ron Howard are working on separate projects inspired by the same true life story of survival at sea.

Both versions will recreate the story of the American ill-fated whaling ship The Essex, which was hunted, stalked and eventually sunk by a whale in the Pacific in 1820. The terrible events were said to have been the inspiration for Herman Melville to write Moby Dick.

Later in 2013, director Ron Howard is moving into Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden (the film giant’s UK base) in time for an autumn shoot on his version of the maritime disaster, In the Heart of the Sea. The producers on the feature film are Joe Roth, Marshall Herskovitz and Paula Weinstein, with a screenplay by Charles Leavitt.

Meanwhile in Malta, filming is now underway on The Whale, a feature length TV drama from the BBC, told through the eyes of cabin boy Thomas Nickerson who was just 14 at the time, and one of only eight survivors of the shipwreck.  

Terry Cafolla has written the script, which is produced by BBC Factual for BBC One and Discovery. Producers are Mike Dormer and John Chapman, with Ruth Caleb and Eamon Hardy executive producing for the BBC.

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