Ted Danson is known for his ocean conservation efforts in the real world, but he's about to take on a much different role for his next film.

The actor has been confirmed for the upcoming movie "Everybody Loves Whales" (also known as "Whales") which tells the true story of efforts in 1988 to rescue three grey whales trapped under ice in the Arctic circle.

Danson will play an oilman with absolutely no interest in saving the giant mammals — which must have been an appealing polar opposite to his real life persona. The actor helped found the international marine organization Oceana back in the early '80s.

Joining him in the film are Drew Barrymore as a Greenpeace activist, "The Office" star John Krasinski as a local reporter, and Vinessa Shaw as a White House staffer who wants the government to save the whales.

The movie, which starts shooting in Alaska next month, is slated for release in 2012.

Michael d'Estries ( @michaeldestries ) covers science, technology, art, and the beautiful, unusual corners of our incredible world.