Zwick hooks ‘Heart’ for next project

Director set for whaling tale

Director Edward Zwick has hooked a whale of a tale for his likely next film.

New Regency has set the helmer to direct “In the Heart of the Sea,” the fact-based tale of Nantucket whaling ship the Essex, which was stalked and ultimately destroyed by a sperm whale in 1820. Stranded thousands of miles from home, the crew struggled to survive; they were lost at sea for 90 days. Eight were rescued.

The script was written by Charles Leavitt (“Blood Diamond”) and rewritten by Ed Zwick and Bedford Falls partner Marshall Herskovitz. They will produce with Paula Weinstein, with Palak Patel exec producing.

New Regency is honing the scriptand has begun planning this logistically ambitious period tale on the open water. The hope is to begin production late this year, with Fox distributing.

Pic is based on the National Book Award-winning title by Nathaniel Philbrick. The sinking of the whaleship Essex was the inspiration for Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.”

Philbrick’s book, first optioned by Intermedia in 2000, is one of two whale tales on the hook for features: Universal is developing “Moby Dick,” a reimagining of the Melville novel for “Wanted” helmer Timur Bekmambetov to direct.

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