The Whale starring Jonas Armstrong as Owen Chase, Adam Rayner (Captain Pollard) , Charles Furness (Thomas Nickerson ) and Jassa Ahluwalia (Owen Coffin) will air on BBC One and on the Discovery Channel (USA) later this year!
In order to promote the Island even more, yesterday one of its Ministers visited the set of BBC’s The Whale which stars Jonas Armstrong as Owen Chase, to chat with the cast & crew and ask how it was all going. 😀
You can watch a VIDEO of the visit here:(not in English)
Text version of what is being implied: http://gozonews.com/38368/minister-mallia-vists-film-studies-for-production-of-the-whale/
The Whale is the real story that inspired the classic novel Moby Dick, and is one of history’s greatest stories of survival at sea. The film follows the ill-fated voyage of The Essex through the eyes of the cabin boy Thomas Nickerson who, at 14, was the youngest member of the crew and one of only eight survivors of the shipwreck.
This is an action-packed narrative in which against all odds Nickerson comes through the worst that nature can throw at him, growing up fast in the process. He faces the destructive force of sea-storms, the power of whales, the brutal desolation of the sun and sea after the shipwreck, and finally the grim realities of cannibalism as his only means of survival.
At its emotional heart is Nickerson’s coming-of-age, where, as an orphan, he is confronted by three powerful male role models – the captain, the first mate, and a black steward. As our narrative develops his views on what makes a man switches dramatically as he sees how these role model respond under some of life’s most extreme pressures.
The Producers: “Throughout we explore some universal themes – What is Man’s place on Earth? How does humanity relate to the planet and its creatures? And what lengths will Man go to in order to survive. Woven within our story is a vivid depiction of the 19th century whaling industry, its importance to the world in an age before petroleum, the reality of its economics and operation, and the life and society of the sperm whale itself, one of the ocean’s greatest creatures”
– This is very good as was hoping like I wrote in my article about whaling (Room for Debate?) that they’d focus on the history of the industry so that we can put this into the larger context. Fingers crossed Discovery will do a piece about modern whaling today to open up the debate!
I’ve been reading the book upon which the script by Terry Cafolla for BBC’s The Whale is based on : Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex as well as In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick.
Unless you prefer not to know anything about the story, you may want to stop reading here as this post could contain *SPOILERS*. So be warned!
I know this is essentially a ‘fan-site’ for news about Jonas Armstrong’s projects but thought it’d be a missed opportunity if I didn’t address the current issue about ‘whaling’. Pinning my hopes on the fact Discovery Channel has put money into the film, and that they’ll be making a documentary to accompany the making-off of The Whale and address this debate.
This week the cast & crew are filming scenes in the large tanks situated at the Mediterranean Film Studios in Malta. Fans of Game of Thrones might know the location as they used the very same studios and its Island surroundings in all three seasons of the HBO series.
In the story of The Whale, the crew of the whaleship Essex have to face multiple squalls, tropical thunderstorms and gale force winds during their 90 day ordeal. Actually they were confronted with a squall just days after leaving the harbour of Nantucket. I’m not exactly sure if they are planning to film every single one Owen Chase mentioned in his narrative, but let’s hope for the cast that they do a selection. 😉
Click on the picture to learn more about the water tanks.
I’ve always loved the making-off of films almost as much, if not more since as long as I can remember watching films. I’m the kind of girl that likes to stay in the cinema and watch the entire credits roll by or is more than happy to watch hours of bonus features on DVD’s more than once! Especially when it comes to either special effects, props, costumes, lighting, storyboards or editing and naturally the audio commentaries from either director or cast. Yes the LOTR ultimate boxset might spring to mind as a perfect example of what I mean. 😉
As Discovery Channel is co-producing the project, I really hope they’ll be making a documentary about the industry of whaling and whaleships like the Essex, to accompany the film. And if they do that they’ll mix in some kind of making-off as well , as I’m really fascinated how they build the ship for filming and of course how they used the water tanks to achieve the storms and the whale attacks! In Master and Commander (2003) I remember the entire ship could be tilted at all possible angles, but not sure if they’re using same principle here or not. So fingers crossed a making-off will be found on the DVD. 😀
Really want to wish the entire cast & crew of The Whale the best of luck and fun while filming these sequences and hope none of you get injured!
If you want to stay up to date a reminder that Jassa Ahluwalia (Owen Coffin) just keeps making everyone jealous by posting pictures of the gorgeous sunny Malta filming locations and tweets almost every day what they’ve been up to. Many thanks indeed! 😀
- The Custard TV : Credit for the above picture + synopsis and info. Many thanks for passing this on Luke! =D
- BBC Press Centre: Official press release
- DigitalSpy: confirmation of project
- InsideMediaTrack: casting info & synopsis
- TV Wise: synopsis and casting info
- CultBox: synopsis & casting info
- The Guardian: synopsis & info + credit for pic 2
Joe Armstrong who was his co-star in Robin Hood will play Lawrence, and you can find more info about his character if you click on the links I provided HERE
UPDATE 09/04 : Joe has now been replaced by Jolyon Coy you can read about the cast change at: http://www.tvwise.co.uk/2013/04/joe-armstrong-exits-bbc-ones-the-whale/
It’s very interesting that the project is produced by Mike Dormer who worked on Paul Abbott’s Clocking Off as Jonas starred in two Paul Abbott projects back to back last year: Hit and Miss & Twenty8k. Furthermore the co-producer John Chapman worked on The Street, and Jonas starred as Nick the wounded soldier returning from Afghanistan in Series 3. So Jonas must have left a strong impression to be cast as Chase in The Whale! Great stuff! 😀
Disclaimer: as always no copyright infringement intended! The pictures provided remain the property of their respective owners (BBC)
Many thanks to Troika for the update as Jonas Armstrong is cast as ‘First Mate – Owen Chase’ in BBC’s TV film The Whale. That’s the officer who ranks just below that of the Captain of the ship.(played by Adam Rayner)
Owen Chase wrote his accounts down about what happened in Narrative of the Most Extraordinary and Distressing Shipwreck of the Whale-Ship Essex. Which would inspire Herman Melville to write Moby Dick.
As first mate of the Essex, 21 year old Owen Chase left Nantucket on August 12, 1819 on a two-and-a-half-year whaling voyage. On the morning of November 20, 1820, the Essex was twice rammed by a Sperm Whale and sank 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 km) west of South America. After spending two days salvaging what supplies they could, the twenty sailors set out in the three small whaleboats with wholly inadequate supplies of food and fresh water.
Instead of heading west to almost certain salvation nearby Tahiti (the crew, led by Owen Chase, feared the islands may be inhabited by cannibals), the confident first mate with the cocksure attitude convinced the less assertive Captain Pollard to head east for South America several thousand miles away.
Of the 21 men in three whale boats who began the journey, eight survived; three who chose to remain on a barely habitable island and five in two boats who attempted to reach South America and who were forced to resort to cannibalism to remain alive.
If you want to learn more about the tragic story of the whaleship Essex go to:
- The Story of the Essex (Blogspot)
- BBC site: the wreck of the whaleship Essex
Characters & Cast
- Jonas Armstrong: First Mate – Owen Chase
- Adam Rayner: Captain – George Pollard Jr.
- Paul Kaye: Second Mate – Matthew Joy
- Jolyon Coy: Boatsteerer – Benjamin Lawrence
- Charles Furness: Cabin Boy – Thomas Nickerson
- Jassa Ahluwalia: Sailor – Owen Coffin
- John Boyega: Steward – William Bond