Tom Hardy will soon return to the big screen as Eddie Brock in a sequel to his 2018 hit Venom, but he’s also planning to head south in a new survival thriller. Hardy will star in a biopic of Ernest Shackleton, the legendary polar explorer who, after a disastrous crash in the Antarctic, led his expedition on a months-long journey to safety.
Shackleton has been kicking around Hollywood for a while – last we heard, it was being set up as a reunion between Leonardo DiCaprio and The Revenant writer Mark L. Smith. But that was several years ago, and the project has gone through some changes since then. Now Variety says Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy writer Peter Straughan is tackling the script, and DiCaprio’s The Revenant co-star Hardy will star in the biopic instead. It’s unclear exactly how much of Shackleton’s life will appear on screen, but his most famous adventure is bound to appear in the story. From Wikipedia:
[Shackleton] made preparations for what became the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914–1917. Disaster struck this expedition when its ship, Endurance, became trapped in pack ice and was slowly crushed before the shore parties could be landed. The crew escaped by camping on the sea ice until it disintegrated, then by launching the lifeboats to reach Elephant Island and ultimately South Georgia Island, a stormy ocean voyage of 720 nautical miles (1,330 km; 830 mi) and Shackleton’s most famous exploit.
Shackleton was an impressive leader in extreme circumstances, reportedly going as far as to give his own mittens to one of his men; that decision ultimately ended with him getting frostbite in his fingers. Producer David Heyman, who has both Once Upon a Time in Hollywood and Marriage Story vying for Best Picture at this year’s Oscars, will produce the movie through his Heyday Films, while Hardy and Dean Baker will produce through their production company, Hardy Son & Baker.
“Tom and I were always fascinated by Shackleton as a leader and his contagious optimism and absolute belief in his team,” Baker said in a statement to Variety. “At a time where leaders seem to be more about self than society, Shackleton sacrificed his own needs to ensure the wellbeing of his team – that’s inspirational.”
A potentially interesting note: Shackleton was Irish, so I wonder if Hardy will make the choice to adopt an Irish accent here. He’s an actor who always catches flack for doing odd, occasionally unintelligible voices, but I look forward to seeing if that trend continues.
StudioCanal is fully financing the movie, but it’s still in the early stages as Straughan continues to work on the screenplay.