Thursday, August 27, 2009

Steven Spielberg to Develop Posthumously Published Michael Crichton Novel Pirate Latitudes

Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton

USA Today is reporting that Steven Spielberg is developing a film based on a book Michael Crichton had written before his death, Pirate Latitudes, an adventure story set off the coast of Jamaica in 1665, which is scheduled for publication this November. David Koepp, who adapted Crichton's novels Jurassic Park and The Lost World, will write the screenplay.

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Synopsis (from Michael Crichton's website): The Caribbean, 1665. A remote colony of the English crown, the island of Jamaica holds out against the vast supremacy of the Spanish empire. Devoid of London's luxuries, Port Royal, its capital, is a cutthroat town of taverns, grog shops, and bawdy houses. In this steamy climate, life can end swiftly by dysentery — or dagger. But for a daring soul like Captain Edward Hunter, this wild outpost in the New World can also lead to great fortune, if he abides by the island's code. In the name of His Majesty King Charles II of England, gold in Spanish hands is gold for the taking and the law of the land rests with those ruthless enough to make it.

Word in port is that the Spanish galleon El Trinidad, fresh from New Spain, is awaiting repairs in nearby Matanceros. Heavily fortified, the impregnable Spanish harbor is guarded by the bloodthirsty Cazalla, a favorite commander of King Philip IV. With the Jamaican governor's backing, Hunter assembles a crew of ruffians to infiltrate the enemy island and commandeer the galleon and its fortune in Spanish gold. The raid is as perilous as the bloodiest tales of Matanceros legend, and Hunter will lose more than one man before he makes it onto the island's shores, where dense jungle and the firepower of Spanish infantry stand between him and the treasure.

With the help of his cunning band, Hunter hijacks El Trinidad and escapes the deadly clutches of Cazalla, leaving plenty of carnage in his wake. But the danger — and adventure — are only just beginning.

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"Michael wrote a real page-turner that already seems suited for the big screen," Spielberg said of Pirate Latitudes. "Michael and I have had almost two decades of solid collaborations. Whenever I made a film from a Michael Crichton book or screenplay, I knew I was in good hands. Michael felt the same, and we like to think he still does." DreamWorks plans to wait for Koepp's script before setting any formal schedule for the project.

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