LONDON (Reuters) - The story that helped inspire "Moby Dick" is coming to cinema screens in action adventure "In the Heart of the Sea", a film directed by Oscar winner Ron Howard and based on the book of the same name.
Nathaniel Philbrick's non-fiction "In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex" tells the story of the sinking of the "Essex", an American whaling ship, in 1820.
The vessel was struck by a sperm whale and its crew was left stranded at sea. The events are said to have helped inspire Herman Melville's famed novel.
The film's cast -- Chris Hemsworth, Tom Holland and Benjamin Walker -- had to lose weight for the film.
"It was hard work getting down to that weight for all of us but we had a pretty tight unit," "Thor" actor Hemsworth said at the film's European premiere in London on Wednesday night.
"All the cast were doing it so it was a lot of support as opposed to doing it on your own."
British actor Tom Holland, who will star as the next "Spider-Man", said filming the movie was "pretty tough".
"The important thing is that this is a true story about real people and we had a duty as actors to do justice to these characters," he said.
"Ron (Howard) made sure that every aspect of this film was authentic so that meant we had to starve, learn how to sail, really go out to sea, so it was pretty grueling, but ... all for a good reason."
"In the Heart of the Sea" begins its cinema roll out on Thursday. It hits U.S. theaters on Dec. 11 and cinemas in the UK on Dec. 26.
(Reporting by Holly Rubenstein; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)