Long-time film and television producer Gale Ann Hurd (The Terminator) is working to bring pirates to the small screen in a new hour-long drama series, Port Royal.
The idea for Port Royal originally came from Hurd, who is currently in the midst of prepping the second season of AMC’s The Walking Dead. Hurd plans to bring Port Royal to television through a production deal between her Valhalla Entertainment and Graham King’s GK-tv.
For producer Graham King (The Departed, Hugo Cabret), Port Royal would be the second series by his GK-tv – the first being the sword-and-sorcery series Camelot, which premiered Friday night on Starz.
Hurd described the genesis of Port Royal in an official press release, which also gave a brief description of the series.
“I have been obsessed with pirates and Port Royal for years, and have a library of books on the subject. The real story of privateers and the politics of the era has never been explored on screen, and I’m excited to bring that world to life with the terrific team at GK-tv.”
Set in the late 17th century on the island of Jamaica, the series will chronicle the namesake port’s notorious rise as the “richest and wickedest city” in the new world, and as a self-governing safe haven for cutthroat pirates, corrupt politicians, and ruthless merchants.
Frankly, it is surprising that a concept like Port Royal took so long to manifest, especially in the wake of the nearly decade-long box-office dominance of the never-ending franchise Pirates of the Caribbean franchise. Though, I suppose a stigma still surrounds the genre after the massive 1995 flop of Cutthroat Island, which left its studio, Carolco, essentially bankrupt, and temporarily marred the careers of Geena Davis and Matthew Modine.
Whatever Hurd has planned for Port Royal, I expect it will likely not include the fantastical storylines and CGI creations of Johnny Depp’s pirate franchise. Reading over Hurd’s comments, the series sounds like it will play much like a 17th century version of HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, delving more into the elements that created a place like Port Royal and focusing on the key players who profited from its existence.
As Port Royal is still very early in the development stage, there is not much to go on in terms of casting potential, or even a script. Depending on how swiftly production progresses, television may be swashing some buckles as early as 2012.