There may have already been 16 film versions, 10 TV versions, 5 theater versions and 1 radio version (that are notable, anyway) but that hasn’t stopped one UK-based studio from prepping yet another adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s classic adventure novel, Treasure Island.
Variety is reporting that Ecosse Films is developing another feature film adaptation of Treasure Island, with studio toppers Douglas Rae and Robert Bernstein wanting to update the 19th century tale of pirates and buried treasure for contemporary audiences. This may sound a bit familiar and that’s because we recently reported on a similar thing being done to another classic swashbuckling tale, The Three Musketeers.
It appears the revamping of Sherlock Holmes has spurred studios and producers on to updating just about every classic piece of literature out there for modern audiences…
The aim for this particular Treasure Island telling is to play up the relationship between Long John Silver and narrator Jim Hawkins. Silver’s character is planned to be more “hip,” you know, making him more down with the kids… Niall Johnson – writer of the dumb Michael Keaton ghost film, White Noise, and the Rowan Atkinson-starring British comedy, Keeping Mum – has been tapped to write the script.
I don’t think there’s any doubt that along with Sherlock Holmes, a major factor of adapting Treasure Island in this day and age (the last proper live-action adaptation was back in 1999) is the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. This adaptation is being aimed to be modernized for a contemporary audience (as they did with pirates in the Pirates franchise) and the way they’re going to handle Long John Silver sounds a lot like, “make him likable like they did with Captain Jack Sparrow.” I’m putting words in the studio’s mouths, of course, but that’s the feeling I get.
Will today’s audiences embrace Stevenson’s tale of pirates and buried treasure the way did the Pirates franchise and the recent take on Sherlock Holmes? Well, if they can get a couple of big name actors to fill the two lead roles and market it the right way then I don’t see why it wouldn’t be a success.
Do you like the idea of adapting Treasure Island for a more contemporary audience, in the same way they did with Sherlock Holmes? Do you see comparisons with what they’re doing here to Pirates of the Caribbean? And who would you like to see star in the two key roles?
More on Treasure Island when we get it.