Based on the true story of the Essex, a whaling ship that was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale in the southern Pacific Ocean in 1820. The incident inspired Herman Melville's "Moby Dick".
According to Ron Howard and the commentary on the film, to prepare for the role of starving sailors, the cast were on a diet of 500-800 calories a day to lose weight.
While Owen Chase's career flourished after the Essex ordeal, his personal life included several tragedies. His wife, Peggy, had two additional children: Lydia and William. She died shortly after William's birth, while Chase was at sea. He then married Nancy Joy, widow of his friend and Essex second mate Matthew Joy. Nancy gave birth to a daughter, Adaline, then died a few weeks later, while Chase was at sea. His third wife, Eunice Chadwick, apparently had an affair that resulted in a son, Charles, who was born when Chase had been at sea for 16 months. Chase filed for divorce upon his return, and raised Charles as his own. In 1840, soon after his divorce was settled, he married Susan Coffin Gwinn, widow of fellow Nantucket whaler captain James Gwinn. Chase suffered from nightmares and migraines, and spent several years in an institution after he started hoarding food in his attic. He died in 1859, at age 62.
This is the sixth film directed by Ron Howard based on a true story. The others were "Apollo 13 (1995)", "A Beautiful Mind (2001) ", "Cinderella Man (2005)", "Frost/Nixon (2008)" and "Rush (2013)".
Tom Holland said that during filming, while on a diet of 500 calories a day, he stole and ate a croissant from the crew catering table. He then vomited because his body was no longer used to the sugar or rich fat.
Part of this movie was shot in the Canary Islands. Moby Dick (1956), directed by John Huston, was also shot in the Canaries.
Before Benjamin Walker was set to play the Captain, other actors that were considered included Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hiddleston, and Henry Cavill.
The young Coffin was a member of one of Nantucket's founding families, and a cousin to George Pollard.
Due to Tom Holland's age at the time of filming (17), he was not allowed to purposefully lose any more weight than what he was before he was cast, so he put weight on first and lost that instead.
A squall in the open sea is not normally accompanied immediately by heavy seas. It takes hours for the wind to whip up the sea. Heavy seas may occur behind the squall's track
This marks the second collaboration of director Ron Howard and actor Chris Hemsworth. Their first collaboration was Rush (2013).
Although supposedly the inspiration for what would be the "America's epic", written by an American, about Whalers from America, and with the story starting & ending in America, among the first 25+ actors listed in the credits, only ONE is an American.
The casting director, Nina Gold, is also the casting director of Game of Thrones (2011), which probably explains why there are four actors, Michelle Fairley (Catelyn Stark), Joseph Mawle (Benjen Stark), Donald Sumpter (Maester Luwin), and Jamie Sives (Jory Cassel), that also appeared there.
The title of the movie is from the biblical account of the prophet Jonah (Jonah 2:3) who was swallowed by a great fish (usually understood to be a whale).
Stars three comic book actors: Chris Hemsworth (Thor), Tom Holland (Spider-Man), and Cillian Murphy (Scarecrow) from The Dark Knight trilogy
Reunites cast members Cillian Murphy, Paul Anderson and Charlotte Riley, who all appeared in Peaky Blinders (2013) .
In 2000, Barry Levinson was set to direct a film adaptation of the book distributed by Miramax.
Paul Anderson and Cillian Murphy both star in the BBC 2 series "Peaky Blinders" together.
Cillian Murphy and Brendan Gleeson also appeared in Sweety Barrett (1998), 28 Days Later... (2002), Cold Mountain (2003), Breakfast on Pluto (2005), and Perrier's Bounty (2009).
This is the second time Brendan Gleeson and Charlotte Riley have been in the same movie. The first was Edge of Tomorrow (2014).
Second film of 2015 to feature both Brendan Gleeson and Ben Whishaw. The first one was "Sufragette" (2015).
This is the first film with both Chris Hemsworth and Tom Holland. Their next film together was Avengers: Infinity War (2018).