Ledger: Egon Endrenyi
William Keck
May 23, 2001 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Call him Ishmael? ”A Knight’s Tale” hunk Heath Ledger could soon trade his lance for a harpoon — if ”Tale” director Brian Helgeland has his way in remaking ”Moby Dick” with the ”Tale” cast. ”I just finished the script,” says Helgeland, who also adapted ”L.A. Confidential” for the screen. ”I’m hoping to do it in the fall or early winter. Basically, [I’m trying] to do a cast sequel with Paul Bettany [”Tale”’s Geoffrey Chaucer] as Captain Ahab and Heath as Ishmael.”

The director envisions a straight retelling of Herman Melville’s American classic — free from the modern rock tunes and contemporary expressions that make ”Tale” an anachronistic novelty. One snag for Helgeland: While Bettany says he’d be happy to hit the high seas, a rep for Ledger says the actor has yet to commit. Guess we all have our albatross.

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