NBC announced on Monday that “Crossbones,” a TV series based on Maine writer and journalist Colin Woodard’s book “The Republic of Pirates,” will star Academy Award nominated actor John Malkovich as the dread pirate Blackbeard. The series, announced last spring and set to begin shooting later this year, was originally set to star Hugh Laurie in the Blackbeard role, but producers cast Malkovich after the “House” star dropped out.
The NBC site for “Crossbones” describes the show with the following words:
It’s 1715 on the Bahamian island of New Providence, the first functioning democracy in the Americas, where the diabolical pirate Edward Teach, a.k.a. Blackbeard, reigns over a rogue nation of thieves, outlaws and miscreant sailors. Part shantytown, part marauder’s paradise, this is a place like no other on earth – and a mounting threat to international commerce. To gain control of this fearsome society, Tom Lowe, a highly skilled undercover assassin, is sent to the buccaneers’ haven to take down the brilliant and charismatic Blackbeard. But the closer Lowe gets, the more he finds that his quest is not so simple. Lowe can’t help but admire the political ideals of Blackbeard, whose thirst for knowledge knows no bounds – and no law. But Lowe is not the only danger to Blackbeard’s rule. He is a man with many villainous rivals and one great weakness – a passionately driven woman whom he cannot deny.
Colin Woodard’s “The Republic of Pirates” came out in 2008, and tells much the same story as what is set for the TV series. Woodard is State & National Affairs Writer for The Portland Press Herald and Maine Sunday Telegram, and is a longtime correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor and The Chronicle of Higher Education. His work has appeared in dozens of national and international publications. He is a Maine native and is also the author of is also the author of the New England bestseller “The Lobster Coast”, a cultural and environmental history of coastal Maine; “Ocean’s End: Travels Through Endangered Seas”, a narrative non-fiction account of the deterioration of the world’s oceans; and ”American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America”, which was named a Best Book of 2011 by the editors of The New Republic and the Globalist and won the 2012 Maine Literary Award for Non-Fiction.