Toby Stephens Black SailsBritish actor Toby Stephens (Die Another Day) has been cast in the lead role of Captain Flint in Starz’s upcoming pirate drama series Black Sails, executive produced by Michael Bay. The eight-episode series, created by Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine, is set 20 years before the events in Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island and chronicles the adventures of fabled buccaneer Captain Flint and his men. The series is in pre-production in Cape Town, South Africa, with Starz eying it for a launch in early 2014, possibly inheriting the Spartacus slot.

Stephens will play Flint, the most brilliant and feared captain of all the Golden Age pirates and commander of the pirate ship Walrus. Threatened with extinction on all sides, he and his crew 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 stunning brutality. For Stephens, repped by Paradigm and UK’s United Agents, this marks his first major role on a U.S. series. In Britain, he recently starred opposite Lucy Punch in the BBC dramedy Vexed.