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With Paul Greengrass’ tense drama Captain Phillips currently in theaters creating waves of awards buzz, it’s obvious that pirates are still popular among movie audiences. But what about the animated kind? We’ll soon see, as Donald Sutherland’s production company Martin’s River Ink is setting sail with Pirate’s Passage. Sutherland is taking the lead role in the movie, and is joined by co-stars Carrie-Anne Moss, Gage Munroe (Immortals) and Kim Coates (Sons of Anarchy). Sounds like a right fine stash of booty here, doesn’t it?
According to Variety, the film will be directed by Sutherland’s producing partner Brad Peyton (Journey 2: The Mysterious Island) and PIP Animation’s Mike Barth, who worked in the animation department on the series The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That. Peyton adapted the script from the 2006 novel of the same name by William Gilkerson. Sutherland calls the project "a thrillingly exhilarating adventure, a glorious coming-of-age story, rich in both imagination and history, in perception and truth." And when such strong words come from such a seasoned screen veteran, there has to be a grain of truth in there.
Set in 1952 in the former pirate hot spot of Grey Rocks, Nova Scotia, Pirate’s Passage tells the story of 12-year-old Jim Hawkins (Munroe), whose is forced to live inside his own wild and adventure-filled imagination, as his daily life is plagued by sadness from the death of his father and school bully Todd Moehner, son of the dickhead local businessman Roy (Coates). His mother (Moss) is constantly having trouble keeping the family-run Admiral Anson Inn alive and out of the possession of Moehner. And then Captain Johnson (Sutherland) arrives, and the family’s life is changed forever. A wise pirate will do that to you.
I’m pretty interested in this project, and hope that the animation is more reminiscent of yesteryear than the bright-colored CGI-fests the major studios keep putting out. I’m not asking Hayao Miyazaki to get on board as a consultant or anything, but...well, I guess I am asking for that.
Sutherland, who stars on the NBC crime drama Crossing Lines, will be seen by millions upon millions when he reprises his role of President Snow in The Hunger Games: Catching Fire later this month. That will probably be more viewers than the ones that go to see him in either Jason Stone’s serial killer thriller The Calling or Jon Cassar’s western Forsaken, which has him starring with son Keifer.
Moss, meanwhile, will be lending her voice to the sci-fi animation The Clockwork Girl and will star in Paul W.S. Anderson’s action faux-epic Pompeii. Coates, who can be seen in the children’s film Cody the Robosapien, is currently filming the Damian Lee drama A Fighting Man, and is set to star as a demonized musician in Last Days Here.
While there is no production schedule stated, I expect quite a few people are already hard at work putting this thing together.