William Monahan Writing and Directing The Essex
by Alex Billington
March 26, 2009
Now this is how you make the most of your career if you win an Oscar. William Monahan, who won the Academy Award for The Departed screenplay in 2007, has been not only attaching himself to every last high profile screenwriting gig over the last few years, but he's making his directorial debut with London Boulevard this fall. But before he's even started directing his first film, he's already lined up more directing gigs to follow. In addition to The Art of the Heist, Monahan will write and direct The Essex, a historical drama about Capt. David S. Porter and his daring sea battles against the British during the War of 1812.
At a time when the ships of the British Royal Navy heavily outnumbered the American naval fleet, Captain Porter steered the Essex past British cruisers to reach the Pacific, where it devastated the British whaling fleet before engaging in a final battle with a special Brit squadron. You can read more about David S. Porter and his story on HistoryNet. Graham King's GK Films and Monahan will produce The Essex, though they haven't decided whether to develop it at a studio or independently just yet. My own suggestion would be to develop it independently, but then again, it depends on how big of a budget they need in the end.
This sounds pretty interesting, but to reference Master and Commander, which only made $94 million at the box office, I'm not sure another period piece set on the open water is a guaranteed success. But with Timur Bekmambetov's Moby Dick in development as well, maybe it could have a chance. Thoughts?