By Charlie Schmidlin | The Playlist May 4, 2012 at 9:17AM
It's lesser known that, when not filling his daily machismo quotient filming “Pain and Gain” with Dwayne Johnson and Mark Wahlberg, Michael Bay prefers to return to his quiet seaside villa, put on his best Robert Evans hat, and produce. If you've sat through any horror remake credits of the past few years, you'll see Bay's had success at it too, but now he's looking to conquer premium cable with a new swashbuckling series in the works.
Deadline reports Starz has issued a straight-to-series order for a new adventure drama following pirates on the high seas, tentatively titled “Black Sails,” with Michael Bay purely in the exec producer chair. The eight-episode series is set two decades before the events of Robert Louis Stevenson's classic “Treasure Island,” and follows the notoriously fearsome buccaneer Captain Flint and his men. As authorities circle in on all sides, and with New Providence Island, a paradise housing criminals, prostitutes, and con men facing destruction, Flint teams with a quick-witted young crew member by the name of Jack Silver to keep their profession alive.
A show such as this seems perfectly suited to Bay's terrain, but while the R.L.S. connection lends it some built-in appeal, there may be trouble ahead. “Black Sails” was dreamed up by “Jericho” creators Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine, and unfortunately faces competition from three other pirate shows in development on other networks: NBC's “The Republic of Pirates,” and Fox's two offerings, “Pyrates,” produced by Ridley and Tony Scott, and “Port Royal.”
“Black Sails” has been in development since 2010, and is the only one currently confirmed for series, but even if one other show makes it to air, the similarities might prove difficult for viewer traction. Still, Bay is said to have been quite hands on in creating the visuals and tone for the series, so the end result will undoubtedly have his stamp on it, for better or worse.
“Black Sails” is set to shoot later this year at Cape Town Studios in South Africa.