Film industry gossip sites have recently mentioned a follow up to the film ‘Master and Commander – Far Side of the World’ starring Russel Crowe and Paul Bettany directed by Peter Weir in 2003.
That film, apart from being my favourite film, was based on the incredible twenty book series by Patrick O’Brien on the English Navy’s fight against the French in the Napoleonic Wars. The main character ‘Lucky’ Jack Aubrey, Russel Crowe, and his special friend the ships surgeon Stephen Maturin. Maturin is a complex character, surgeon, natural philosopher, and intelligence officer with a lot of history in Catalonia, Ireland and England. Jack is more straight forward, knows his business, a great leader, gung ho, but a bit lost on land.
The original film included actual shots from a tall ship sailing past Cape Horn and was the most authentic portrayal of tall ship sailing in those days. The story is built around the life of the crew at sea and briefly when they landed in the Galapagos Islands. Women appear in the film for about 45 seconds and highlight the lust built up in the all-male crew who have been so long at sea without female company. Apparently Peter Weir decided that to place any part of the film ashore in normal society would distract from the story. So like many intriguing plots the people are confined, like a prison, or an isolated island as in the film and on the ship.
It was a very expensive film to make and was overshadowed by the very popular ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’.
The follow up
There have been infrequent rumours of a sequel. For instance there was talk of doing a follow up in South Africa about five years ago but nothing came of it.
The New Film
Not so much a sequel more a pre-sequel. The talk is now set around telling the story of how Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin meet in Mahon on Menorca which at the time was briefly under English rule. Developing the story of their first exploits at sea and interactions with life ashore.
It is the time Jack Aubrey gets his promotion to ‘Master and Commander’ and the rush has gone to his head. This allows the film to be partly ashore and Jack is having an affair with the Port Admirals wife.
Stephen Maturin is an impoverished, tardy looking out of work surgeon. What brings them together is music, so I hope as in the original there will be a wonderful musical score to the film.
So using this period for the film allows for the introduction of women into the film thus you could have two key ingredients to a successful film, sex and violence. The violence being directed at the French at sea.
The actors are not likely to be Russel Crowe or Paul Bettany as they would appear to old for the younger characters this film will require.
Since 2003 CGI has come a long way and its use here could save millions from the film budget.
I look forward to seeing what happens next.