Ron Howard Film Examines Ordeal of Whaleship Essex


Nantucket’s whaling heritage will soon be coming to a movie theater near you.

Ron Howard Film Examines Ordeal of Whaleship Essex
This sperm whaling scene by an anonymous American whaler, from the middle 1830’s is one of a series of nine outstanding documentary artworks by the same artist. Watercolor on paper, 9 5/8 x 12 inches. (Courtesy of the New Bedford Whaling Museum. NBW #1938.79.1)

Ron Howard, who has directed some of the biggest movies of the last 30 years, from “Cocoon” to “Apollo 13,” has set his sights on the famous story of the whaleship Essex for his latest project. The movie, titled “In the Heart of the Sea,” is due out March 13, 2015.

Based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s 2000 National Book Award-winning “In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex,” the film follows the crew in 1820 as it ships out from Nantucket headed for the South Pacific. Along the way the vessel is attacked by an 80’ sperm whale. It’s the journey that inspired Herman Melville’s classic novel “Moby-Dick.”