High-profile feature film directors taking on pilot episodes of high-profile television shows is nothing new. Just take a look at our feature on all the shows premiering within the next few months that have ties to the big screen for proof. However, just because a hit director takes on a TV show doesn't necessarily mean it's the perfect marriage of director and material (Quentin Tarantino's random CSI episodes are evidence of that). Having said that, Neil Marshall (The Descent, Centurion) directing Starz' Black Sails pilot absolutely sounds like the perfect marriage of director and material.
Produced by Michael Bay's Platinum Dunes, Black Sails is actually a prequel to Treasure Island, Robert Louis Stevenson's famous adventure novel about a group of pirates seeking the hidden loot of another pirate, Captain Flint. The notoriously bloodthirsty Flint is dead before Stevenson's story starts, which is why Black Sails creators Jon Steinberg and Robert Levine have decided to tell his untold story, setting the show some 20 years before his death triggers the events in Treasure Island.
As you know doubt already know, Marshall recently directed the jaw-dropping Game of Thrones episode "Blackwater," which not only featured some of the most badass clashing of sword and bone ever put on TV, but also some of the coolest seafaring warfare (sorry, Horatio Hornblower). So who better to take on the pilot for a show about a madman pirate who sails the high seas, leaving a bloody wake behind him?
Oddly enough, this means Marshall is working his way through a hat trick of gruesome, water-bound tales. He's also the latest name attached to The Last Voyage of the Demeter, a film about the doomed crew of the ship that unknowingly transports Dracula's coffin from Transylvania to England. That film is still a ways away it seems (Marshall's wife recently denied reports that Viggo Mortensen had been offered the lead role), and it's already changed directorial hands a few times (it first emerged back in 2009 with Platinum Dunes regular director Marcus Nispel at the helm), but hopefully it does materialize this time -- assuming Marshall hasn't had his fill of ships, waves and blood by then.