Michael Bay to Produce Treasure Island Prequel BLACK SAILS for Starz

     May 3, 2012


With the Spartacus series continuing to anchor its original programming, Starz has ordered another blood-and-boobs historical epic to series in the form of the Michael Bay-produced Black Sails. Set to film in South Africa, the tentatively titled show is a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic pirate tale Treasure Island. It will take place 20 years before the events of the novel, following Captain Flint (the deceased pirate who literally put the treasure in Treasure Island) and a young Long John Silver as they buckle swash in defense of “notorious criminal haven” New Providence Island. Hit the jump for more, including a full press release.

black-sails-treasure-islandIn case you haven’t read it, the oft-adapted 1883 book sees young narrator Jim Hawkins and cohorts squaring off against a devious, peg-legged Long John Silver for Flint’s buried treasure.

Bay and his horror-remake-happy Platinum Dunes label will exec produce the eight-episode first season of the prequel series alongside creators Jon Steinberg (Jericho) and Robert Levine (Touch). It will represent the Transformers director’s first real foray into television. Expect Black Sails to start plundering for ratings, ransoming the buxom daughters of prominent TV critics and…other pirate stuff…sometime in 2014.

Press release:

Beverly Hills, Calif., May 3, 2012 – Starz Chief Executive Officer Chris Albrecht announced the straight-to-series greenlight of “Black Sails” (working title) from executive producer Michael Bay.  The new STARZ Original series is expected to air in 2014.  The eight-episode first season of the pirate adventure centers on the tales of Captain Flint and his men, and takes place twenty years prior to Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic “Treasure Island.”

Flint, the most brilliant and most feared pirate captain of his day, takes on a fast-talking young addition to his crew who goes by the name John Silver.  Threatened with extinction on all sides, they fight for the survival of New Providence Island, the most notorious criminal haven of its day – a debauched paradise teeming with pirates, prostitutes, thieves and fortune seekers, a place defined by both its enlightened ideals and its stunning brutality.

“Starz is excited to be working with a visionary like Michael,’” said Albrecht.  “Along with the high-octane action that is a hallmark of a Michael Bay production, it has the elements that Starz originals are striving to bring to the premium landscape:  epic, larger than life, cinematic storytelling.  The series is also a property we believe will appeal to the global content marketplace with broadcasters around the world.”

“I’m excited to branch out into television,” says Michael Bay, the record-breaking director/producer of such big screen hits as Transformers and Bad Boys, “especially doing a long-form series for STARZ, a network known for supporting cutting edge programming.”

Following the model of the “Spartacus” franchise and “Magic City,” Starz will retain all domestic and international rights to the dramatic series, including television, home video, and digital.

“Black Sails” will be executive produced by Michael Bay (Transformers, Armageddon, Pearl Harbor) and his Platinum Dunes partners Brad Fuller and Andrew Form (producers on The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003) and Nightmare on Elm Street (2009).  The series is created by showrunner and executive producer Jon Steinberg (creator “Jericho,” “Human Target”) and co-executive producer Robert Levine (“Touch”).

The production is set to shoot at Cape Town Studios in Cape Town, South Africa later this year.