The story takes place in Cold War-era 1988. Whales follows "the true story of a small-town news reporter (Krasinski) and a Greenpeace volunteer (Barrymore) who enlist the help of rival superpowers to save three majestic gray whales trapped under the ice of the Arctic Circle."
Bell would play a reporter from Los Angeles who wants to use her looks to get to the top.
Ken Kwapis is set to direct. The film is based on the nonfiction book "Freeing the Whales: How the Media Created the World's Greatest Non-Event" by Tom Rose.