Charles Leavitt wrote the script, adapted from Nathanial Philbrick's non-fiction book of the same name. The story revolves around a Nantucket whaling ship which was destroyed by a sperm whale in 1820. Only eight crew members were rescued alive, after being lost at sea for 90 days. The true event inspired Herman Melville to write his literary masterpiece, Moby Dick.
Joe Roth, Palak Patel, Paula Weinstein, and Will Ward are producing the adaptation. The project has been in development for several years, with directors such as Barry Levinson and Edward Zwick once attached to direct. DreamWorks reportedly has the inside track on landing the project, although there are still other studios vying for the property.