Ron Howard on inspiring 'In the Heart of the Sea' film

Wed Dec 23, 2015 5:00am EST
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LONDON - For his latest movie "In the Heart of the Sea",  Academy Award winner Ron Howard said he was inspired to tell the shipwreck adventure story because of its "surprising" elements "mixed with what's kind of traditional and classic".

The movie is based on Nathaniel Philbrick's non-fiction book "In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex", which tells the story of the sinking of the "Essex", an American whaling ship, in 1820.

The vessel was struck by a sperm whale and its crew was left stranded at sea. The events are said to have helped inspire Herman Melville's famed novel "Moby Dick".

"I loved that it's a sea adventure and that it deals with a mythic figure ... the whale that actually inspired Melville to write 'Moby Dick' was every bit as intense as 'Moby Dick' and that real event was something that I wanted to share with audiences," Howard told Reuters.

The film's cast -- which includes "Thor"  actor Chris Hemsworth and Tom Holland who will star as the next "Spider-Man" -- had to lose weight for the movie.

"I was very inspired by their level of commitment," Howard said. "Of course, I also was insisting upon it as the director. It's really the story that was making the demands and it was also the fact that they were playing real people who had existed, who had endured, or struggled to endure and they wanted to honor the memory of these men."

"In the Heart of the Sea", already out in the U.S. and other countries, hits UK cinemas on Dec. 26.

Ron Howard touches his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame after being honored with the 2,568th star in Los Angeles, California December 10, 2015. REUTERS/Kevork Djansezian