The Only Thing Better Than Pirates? Space Pirates!

Illustration for article titled The Only Thing Better Than Pirates? Space Pirates!

Sick of all the zombies and vampires overrunning your local movie theater? Then you're in luck: Warner Bros. is poised to usher in the era of space pirates, with a science fiction remake of the swashbuckling pulp Captain Blood.


Captain Blood began life as a series of novels by Rafael Sabatini, chronicling the adventures of Dr. Peter Blood, a physician who turns pirate after being wrongly imprisoned. Since its publication in 1922, Captain Blood has been adapted five times for the silver screen, most notably in the 1935 film, which starred Errol Flynn in the title role.

Perhaps looking to capitalize on the success of the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise, Warner Bros. producer Bill Gerber dug up the studio's Captain Blood license and started taking pitches from directors. But Gerber didn't anticipate the idea Michael and Peter Spierig had for a Captain Blood reboot: pirates in space.

"At first, I felt like I was in that scene in 'The Player,' where Buck Henry pitches the sequel to 'The Graduate,'" said Gerber. "But when I took a look at their animatic depiction of a pirate battle in space, it had such a distinctive visual look to it that I said, 'Great, I get it.'"

But, despite the promise of space cannons and starships bearing the Jolly Roger, the plot will hold fairly true to the 1935 movie:

The doctor, Peter Blood, joins up with a French pirate (played in the original by Basil Rathbone), only to clash with the buccaneer when the woman he loves (Olivia de Havilland) is captured by the pirate skipper.

Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing a pirate movie not starring Johnny Depp, and I have high hopes for extraplanetary pirates. At best, it could do for Caribbean pirates what shows like Cowboy Bebop and Firefly have done for westerns, and at the very least, it will still be fun to watch swashbuckling in space.





That book was awesome. I hated the 1930s movie version, though, because in the book, Blood was actually a pretty deep and complex character - he definitely wasn't just a flat stereotypical pirate - but the movie, well, did the Hollywood thing to it all, so he became just a bland action hero. A few scenes were blatantly altered specifically to make him seem more macho and action-y than he actually was, in some cases totally subverting the book. Yes, the film industry's been ruining good books for over 70 years! A proud heritage.