As a title, In the Heart of the Sea doesn’t really capture the intense action and drama of Ron Howard’s upcoming seafaring movie, which stars Chris Hemsworth as an early 19th-century whaler locked in combat with a gigantic sperm whale.
At some point during the trailer, which points out that the true disaster tale contributed to Melville’s inspiration for Moby Dick, the leviathan runs deep after being harpooned by the crew of the S.S. Essex—toppling masts and sending the ship sideways. You almost expect the level-headed member of the crew to mutter, “Ye shall require a bigger boat, matey.”
The film is based on Nathaniel Philbrick’s award-winning 2000 book. The narrator of the trailer is Brendan Gleeson, who plays the grown-up version of one of the ship’s younger survivors, Tom Nickerson, played by The Impossible’s Tom Holland. Ben Whishaw plays Melville himself, who tracks down Nickerson later in life to hear his fish story and use it to write a classic.
In the Heart of the Sea opens in theaters March 13.