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Tim Blake Nelson joins Drew Barrymore film

THR EXCLUSIVE: Ken Kwapis attached to direct

Tim Blake Nelson has joined John Krasinski and Drew Barrymore in "Everybody Loves Whales," a Working Title project for Universal.

Set in Cold War-era 1988, "Whales" tells the true story of a small-town news reporter (Krasinski) and a Greenpeace volunteer (Barrymore) who enlist the help of rival superpowers to save three majestic gray whales trapped under the ice of the Arctic Circle.

Ken Kwapis is attached to direct "Whales," which is based on Tom Rose's nonfiction book "Freeing the Whales: How the Media Created the World's Greatest Non-Event."

Nelson will play a wildlife expert who works in the wildlife-management office.

Kristen Bell also is in the cast of the movie, which shoots in the fall.

Nelson recently wrapped shooting "The Big Year," with Jack Black, Steve Martin and Owen Wilson and is filming the independent feature "Flypaper," starring Patrick Dempsey and Ashley Judd. He also stars in Brett Ratner's pilot "Chaos," which was picked up to series by CBS.

Nelson is repped by UTA and Gateway Management Co.