Tom Hardy sets next big movie as Ernest Shackleton biopic

Tom Butler
Senior Editor
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - SEPTEMBER 27: Tom Hardy attends the photo call for Columbia Pictures' "Venom" at the Four Seasons Hotel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills on September 27, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Tom Hardy is set to play legendary polar explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton in a new biopic that has Oscar contender written all over it.

Produced by David Heyman’s Heyday Films, Variety reports that Shackleton will be written by Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy screenwriter Peter Straughan, and fully financed by Studiocanal which worked with Heyday on Paddington and the forthcoming The Secret Garden.

Hardy will also produce the film with Dean Baker through their production firm Hardy Son & Baker.

Shackleton was an Irish explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic in the early part of the 20th century.

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His exploits are tailor-made for big screen adaptation in the style of Hardy’s 2015 Oscar-winning survival movie The Revenant, which won Leonardo DiCaprio his first acting Oscar.

Anglo-Irish explorer Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) in a jumper. (Photo by Print Collector/Getty Images)

During the second expedition, 1907-1909, he and three companions established a new record, farthest south latitude at 88°S, only 97 geographical miles from the South Pole, the largest advance to the pole at that point in exploration history. Members of his team also climbed Mount Erebus, the most active volcano in the Antarctic. Shackleton was knighted by King Edward VII for those achievements.

His Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914–1917, aboard the Endurance, which launched amidst the outbreak of the Great War, became the stuff of legend when the ship got trapped in ice for months in January 1915. The vessel eventually sank in November, 1915, forcing the crew to transfer to the ice. They set up camp on a floe, hoping it would drift them towards a safe landing, before they took to the sea in life boats hoping to find dry land.

Tom Hardy in a still from the 2015 film The Revenant.

They were eventually rescued in 1916, following a journey of 800 miles from Elephant Island in the South Shetland Islands to South Georgia in the southern Atlantic Ocean.

He died from a suspected heart attack during his third and last 'oceanographic and sub-antarctic' expedition in 1922, aged 47.

The film has reportedly been in development for four years and now with the weight of Heyday Films behind it, it’s looking likely to finally get made.

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David Heyman’s company is competing for Oscars this weekend with two of its most recent productions: Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story.

Hardy’s film output has slowed down over recent years, with the actor becoming much more choosy with his roles. He’ll next be seen in Venom 2.

Kenneth Branagh played the explorer in Channel 4’s Shackleton, a two-part TV series that was nominated for seven Emmy Awards, six BAFTA Awards, and a Golden Globe Award.