Looking to get the jump on the other scurvy dogs with plans to chart their own pirate adventures, Michael Bay and his Platinum Dunes company have been acting quickly to get Black Sails shipshape and Bristol fashion on US network Starz. They already have a director for the pilot in Neil Marshall and have now settled on a captain, with Toby Stephens cast as Captain Flint.
Black Sails – which is planning an eight-episode first season and may end up taking the berth currently occupied by Spartacus – takes place 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island.
At this time, Flint was the smartest and most feared pirate captain during the “golden age” of plundering. But the good life behaving badly is quickly coming to an end and with his crew on the Walrus threatened from all sides, he has to fight to protect the criminal haven New Providence Island.
To help in his battle, Flint recruits a young stranger named John Silver and… well, if you’ve read Stevenson’s tome or seen one of the innumerable adaptations over the years, you know how THAT turned out.
Stephens, who has been doing a lot of work on British TV, most notably Vexed, also has crime drama All Things To All Men and sci-fi thriller The Machine coming up.