The producers of Black Sails‘ are working a TV series about Cleopatra. The pirate adventure, which recently wrapped its fifth and final season, won plenty of fans with it’s earthy and mature treatment of historical material, and it’s depiction of complicated characters like Flint, John Silver, and Billy Bones.
Prior to the series, Robert Louis Stevenson’s original novel was often seen as family-friendly PG-rated entertainment. mostly due to the much-loved 1950’s Disney feature-length version of Treasure Island and various TV adaptations that had been made. But the TV prequel changed all that, adding real-life figures like Anne Bonny and Edward Teach to the mix, as well as adult themes and very impressive sea-battles. Not to mention a talented cast including the likes of Toby Stephens and Luke Arnold. The skull and crossbones were taken down for the last time in the series finale of the Treasure Island prequel in April, and according to reports the next project from the creative trio behind the show will be centred around the enigmatic Egyptian Queen Cleopatra.
According to a report from Deadline, co-creators/executive producers Jonathan E. Steinberg, Robert Levine and executive producer Dan Shotz are developing a drama series for Amazon studios, that will tell the story of Cleopatra. It’s being written by Levine, and is described as “a revisionist take on one of history’s most misunderstood women, The Godfather in Ancient Egypt”. The current synopsis of the series is as follows:
“After nearly losing her life in a bloody coup, Cleopatra must use her natural wit and political genius to take back her throne and restore honor to her family and kingdom”. Similar to Black Sails, Levine is executive producing alongside Steinberg and Shotz, as well as writing the show.
There have been several attempts at launching a Cleopatra TV series in the past several years. Indeed, many global TV channels have already produced dramas focusing on the Egyptian Royal dynasties; the most recent examples that went as far as the development stage in the US have been an NBC drama series project and a Lifetime miniseries. There was even a blockbuster planned at Sony Pictures at one point, which was based on the Stacy Schiff bestselling book Cleopatra: A Life and had directors David Fincher and James Cameron in the running to make it.
Naturally there has always been a long-time fascination with this uniquely strong historical figure, and the Black Sails creative trio could be just the team to do the story justice – especially if the quality of mature themes and uncompromising drama is set at the same level as the pirate tale. There are currently no details on casting, production or screening dates, but it’s a project that certainly that certainly stirs the imagination.