Timur Bekmambetov takes on Moby Dick

New take on Melville’s classic whale tale

After making the violent, ultra-stylised Wanted (not to mention his Night Watch series), what would you think Timur Bekmambetov would opt to add to his development pile? Chances are a version of Moby Dick wouldn’t be top of your list, but that’s exactly what he’s doing.

Universal, which worked with him on Wanted, has nabbed the rights to a big-budget reimagining of Herman Melville’s tale, which sees captain Ahab obsessively hunting the titular titan of the seas, reveals Variety.

But writers Adam Cooper and Bill Collage are confident this will be an all-new retelling of the story. “Our vision isn’t your grandfather’s Moby Dick,” Cooper says. “This is an opportunity to take a timeless classic and capitalize on the advances in visual effects to tell what at its core is an action-adventure revenge story.”

A new focus

Gone, then is the first-person narrative of young sailor Ishmael, who chronicles his captain’s descent into driven madness. The new film will follow the whale’s course of destruction before Ahab gets his shot at destroying it. And it’ll be written in more of a graphic novel-style, with Ahab less an obsessive loon and more a charismatic leader.

We can hear the Moby purists gnashing their teeth even as we write this, since “Call me Ishmael” is one of the classic opening lines of all time. Plus, it’ll have to compete with John Huston’s version, which was scripted by writer Ray Bradbury.

Is Bekmambetov’s OTT visual style right for the whale’s story? And with a script by two of the writers of Accepted? We’re not sure, but it’ll be fun finding out.