Moby Dick is Herman Melville’s great American classic. It takes place aboard the Pequod, commanded by Captain Ahab, a man obsessed with avenging the loss of his leg and a previous vessel to Moby Dick, a giant sperm whale. It’s written from the point of view of Ishmael, a sailor aboard the ship. Now, Hollywood has plans to transform the 1851 drama into a space-age motion picture.
Watch your back Prometheus, Mobius is coming.
Scott Pictures is run by Scott Steindorff, who has just agreed to finance Mobius, Lynne Ramsay’s pet project. The science fiction tale is inspired by Moby Dick. It’s so far described as a psychological thriller with loads of action, which takes place in deep space, where one ship’s captain is consumed by the need for vengeance. Never mind the expense of the crew or the fact that his war against a mysterious alien is basically suicide. No word yet on what shape this key alien will take. Will he look like a whale? Will he have the capacity for speech?
Ramsay is working with Rory Kinnear on finishing the script for Mobius. The pair worked together on the script for We Need to Talk About Kevin, as well. Ramsay helped write, produced and directed the film adapted from the Lionel Shriver novel. Starring Tilda Swinton, We Need to Talk About Kevin follows the aftermath of a terrible and tragic massacre at a high school.
Steindorff, who produced The Lincoln Lawyer, has also worked with Lynne Ramsay before. This was news to me until I did some research on the upcoming film, Jane Got a Gun. It inspired lots of buzz as it was shopped around during Cannes. Scheduled to begin filming in early 2013, the picture stars Natalie Portman as a woman who asks her ex-lover for help when her new outlaw husband is threatened by a gang out for his blood. This sounds a bit like Ryan Gosling’s Drive plotline. Jane Got a Gun is a Western; however, and will be very high profile, so we should hear much more about it soon. Michael Fassbender is Portman’s co-star and I think that’s a very hot match-up. The pair should really sizzle.
I also think it is good timing to feature another space opera at the box office and for a Moby Dick tale as well. So many people I spoke to where chomping at the bit for a chance to see Prometheus when it premiered.
Shamefully, I never read the classic, Moby Dick. My experience with it comes entirely from pop culture. Recently, in the Mixed Martial Arts film, Warrior, Nick Nolte is listening to the book on tape. In the X-Files, Scully reveals her father, a former Navy Captain, used to call her Starbuck. When she inherits a pet dog for a time, she calls him Queequeg. And of course Battlestar Galactica featured Starbuck and Boomer, names you’ll hear aboard the original Pequod. This much is true: The material lends itself well to sci-fi.