Animal Planet is set to launch its first scripted TV movie and has cast Martin Sheen as the lead.
The Moby Dick inspired Revenge of The Whale is being co-produced by the BBC and tells the story of Thomas Nickerson (Sheen), a cabin boy whose experiences on the whaling ship ‘The Essex’ changed his life.
The two-hour telepic reimagines the events that occurred that lead to the sea creature turning on its hunters and fighting back. Based on accounts, the sperm whale that sank The Essex and shipwrecked 21 men (only eight survived), was estimated to be over 85 feet long.
Interestingly, the film is the second project announced within the last six months that has attempted to tackle the events of the Essex. Director Ron Howard revealed last year that he was currently filming a big-screen adaptation of the book In The Heart Of The Sea, which chronicles the true events of the whaling ship’s voyage. While Howard’s movie will attempt to stay close to the source, it seems as though Animal Planet’s take will be slightly more fantastical, with Deadline reporting that the disaster will actually feature heavily from the whale’s perspective.
The movie is one of a number of projects the channel has planned for the 2014-15 slate, which include six new series, nine specials and the returns of several ongoing series such as Finding Bigfoot, Gator Boys, River Monsters and My Cat From Hell. New series include: Deadly Islands, Ice Lake Rebels, Pool Master, Redwood Kings, Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters and Tiny Terror.
“We always are exploring new stories that both entertain and challenge how we view the natural world and our place in it,” explains Marjorie Kaplan, group president of Animal Planet and TLC. “…Animal Planet remains committed to offering provocative, entertaining programming while shedding even more light on important global issues.”
Revenge of The Whale should arrive sometime within the next year.