By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist June 11, 2012 at 5:34PM
Can Chris Hemsworth graduate from franchise star to leading man in dramatic fare? The question is wide open right now, but whether audiences warm to him without the hammer of Thor or riding shotgun with Kristen Stewart through fairy tales remains to be seen. His first test via the excellent meta-horror flick "The Cabin In The Woods" didn't really work, and he'll get another shot later this year when the "Red Dawn" remake finally hits theaters. But his first real test will be in Ron Howard's racing drama "Rush" and should that go well, this will likely follow.
Deadline reports that the long-in-development adaptation of Nathaniel Philbrick's "In The Heart Of Sea" now has Hemsworth attached to star, and DreamWorks in the mix to take on the movie. Set up way back in 2000 with Barry Levinson directing for The Weinstein Company, the story is based on the true event that inspired Herman Melville's "Moby Dick," about a Nantucket whaling ship that was stalked and destroyed by a sperm whale, stranding the crew who were lost at sea for ninety days. Only eight survived. Hemsworth would play the first mate of the crew of 20, who finds himself thrown into action when the boat comes under attack in the Pacific. After the attack, the crew heads to South America and soon are forced to eat each other in an "Alive" style feast. Ew.
Being a period movie (set in the 1800s) and a water-logged adventure likely makes this an expensive/dicey gamble -- this sort of genre tends to be a mixed bag at the box office, and Hemsworth isn't yet proven. Toss in the cannabalism aspect and again, it might be hard sell. Or maybe it's the next "Cast Away." Charles Leavitt ("K-PAX," "Blood Diamond") penned the script on the project that over the years has also seen Ed Zwick kick the tires on it. Can Hemsworth make it happen? We'll see. No director is attached yet either, and this could still be early days.