Andrew Haigh's 45 Years got a little lost in awards season last year, but it's a heartbreaking and terribly real memoir of a decades-long marriage built on a tenuous foundation. Haigh immediately followed the film with the upcoming Lean on Pete and he's got an Alexander McQueen biopic in the works (cannot wait), and today it was announced that he will be adapting Ian McGuire’s highly celebrated novel The North Water.
Haigh did a brilliant job writing the adaptation of David Constantine's short story "In Another Country" for 45 Years, and he'll write as well as direct the adaptation of The North Water. Here's a little more about the book, which sounds like a terrifying read that I have just added to my October to-be-read pile:
A nineteenth-century whaling ship sets sail for the Arctic with a killer aboard in this dark, sharp, and highly original tale that grips like a thriller.
Behold the man: stinking, drunk, and brutal. Henry Drax is a harpooner on the Volunteer, a Yorkshire whaler bound for the rich hunting waters of the arctic circle. Also aboard for the first time is Patrick Sumner, an ex-army surgeon with a shattered reputation, no money, and no better option than to sail as the ship's medic on this violent, filthy, and ill-fated voyage.
In India, during the Siege of Delhi, Sumner thought he had experienced the depths to which man can stoop. He had hoped to find temporary respite on the Volunteer, but rest proves impossible with Drax on board. The discovery of something evil in the hold rouses Sumner to action. And as the confrontation between the two men plays out amid the freezing darkness of an arctic winter, the fateful question arises: who will survive until spring?
With savage, unstoppable momentum and the blackest wit, Ian McGuire's The North Water weaves a superlative story of humanity under the most extreme conditions.
The North Water will be a six-part series for BBC and See-Saw Films, the production companies responsible for The King's Speech and Top of the Lake. Let's hope for a much better result than In the Heart of the Sea, another film adaptation of another whaling book that wasn't terribly successful despite the thrilling source material. The North Water has decided potential.