EXCLUSIVE: Studiocanal will back a live-action series adaptation of the Hugo Pratt Corto Maltese graphic novel series, with Sin City’s Frank Miller to be its creator, writer and executive producer. In conjunction with Canal+, Studiocanal will develop six hourlong episodes.
The series EP is Jemma Rodgers (The Railway Children Return), along with Silenn Thomas, latter of whom is CEO of Frank Miller Ink. Overseeing VFX is Phil Tippett, whose work includes the Star Wars and Jurassic Park franchises and Willow. Studiocanal EVP Global Production Ron Halpern and Executive Managing Director TV Francoise Guyonnet will oversee for the studio.
Pratt launched the series in 1967. Maltese is a daring sea captain whose adventures took place in the early part of the 20th Century. The lavishly drawn adventure tale melded fantasy with reality as Maltese came in contact with some of the most influential characters from literature – Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Butch Cassidy — as he crossed seas and oceans.
Miller, who co-directed with Robert Rodriguez the first two Sin City films, and whose comics and graphic novels include 300, The Dark Knight Returns Batman: Year One and Daredevil: Born Again, this year launched a new publishing banner, Frank Miller Presents. He is president/EIC of the imprint, which just published Ronan: Book Two and Ancient Enemies.
“I first discovered Corto Maltese reading the books at Forbidden Planet in New York as a young man,” Miller said. “Then on my travels, I studied and discovered an edition at a newsstand in Rome. The artwork was so expressive and so bold that it leapt off the newsprint. It swept me away. It was full of magic and romantic adventure. Maltese is a rascal who could talk to the Gods. To me it showed off the power of the comic where language is not much of a barrier. I have been a Corto Maltese fan ever since. This is the hero’s journey in its most classic form, and I couldn’t be more honored to help bring into this series the romanticism, heroism, and underlying mysticism of Pratt’s creation.”
Patrizia Zanotti, a close collaborator of Pratt, said there was a high level of respect for Miller and his works by the Corto Maltese creator, who died in 1996.
“Hugo Pratt appreciated Frank Miller’s work from the very beginning so much so that he published him in the Corto Maltese magazine in 1988. Pratt like Miller are students of American classic cartooning like Milton Caniff with their use of shadows, dramatic inks and bold brush work. Who better to reinterpret Hugo Pratt’s world than Frank Miller after all the characters and worlds the legendary creator has brought to us? Pratt would be thrilled to see his character Corto Maltese revived through an author who has the extraordinary ability to carry on timeless myths introducing iconic characters to new generations. Pratt has said through one of his characters that ‘nothing is written that cannot be rewritten.’ I believe that no one else other than Frank Miller could interpret the creative impulse inherent in this phrase.”
UTA reps Miller.