May 25, 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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