EXCLUSIVE: 20th Century is looking to head back to the high seas as sources tell Deadline the studio is developing a new Master and Commander pic with A Monster Calls scribe Patrick Ness adapting the script. Insiders add it is still early days and no director or talent is attached at this time.
The 2003 pic Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, directed by Peter Weir, was set during the Napoleonic Wars and follows Capt. Jack Aubrey (Russell Crowe), a brash British captain who pushes his ship and crew to their limits in pursuit of a formidable French war vessel around South America. Paul Bettany also starred in the film, which made more then $200 million worldwide and received 10 Oscar nominations for including one for Best Picture.
Since the original was part of a big book series, the idea always was to adapt other books in to films, but a second film never got into position to move forward. Sources say this pic would be based on the first book in the series, which shows a young Aubrey as he is given his first command and also explores how his friendship with his naval surgeon, Stephen Maturin (Bettany), begins. Since this would be set in the early days of Aubrey, it also is likely they would have new talent playing Aubrey and Maturin as well.
Ness was best known for penning the bestselling book series Chaos Walking — which he also adapted into a film for Lionsgate — until he transitioned into screenwriting starting with A Monster Calls. Since then, his screenwriting star power has been on the rise, having just finished an adaptation of The Lord of the Flies for Warner Bros and Luca Guadagnino.
He is repped by CAA, literary agent Michelle Kass and attorney Behr Abramson Levy.