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Frank Miller sets sail with Corto Maltese in adaptation of Hugo Pratt comic books

Comic-book veteran Frank Miller has boarded StudioCanal’s new live action/adventure series Corto Maltese, based on the graphic novels by Italian comic-book creator Hugo Pratt.

Frank Miller (photo: AFP, Joël Saget)

Miller, whose credits include 300, Sin City, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One and Daredevil: Born Again, joins Corto Maltese as creator, writer and executive producer.

Silenn Thomas (300, Sin City), CEO of Miller’s production company Frank Miller Ink, will also serve as executive producer on the 6×60’ project, which is currently in development with Canal+.

First published in 1967, the Corto Maltese graphic novels chronicle the adventures of an enigmatic sea captain — the son of a sailor from Cornwall and a gypsy from Seville — in the first decades of the 20th century.

The TV adaptation will be executive-produced by Bafta Award-winning Jemma Rodgers (The Railway Children Return) with StudioCanal represented by Ron Halpern, executive vice-president of global production, and Francoise Guyonnet, executive managing director, TV. Phil Tippett (Star Wars, Jurassic Park) will oversee VFX.

Miller, who joins Corto Maltese the week after the launch of the first two releases from his new publishing banner Frank Miller Presents (FMP), first came across the Corto Maltese books as a young man.

“The artwork was so expressive and so bold that it leapt off the newsprint,” he said. “It swept me away. It was full of magic and romantic adventure. Maltese is a rascal who could talk to the gods. To me, it showed off the power of the comic where language is not much of a barrier. I have been a Corto Maltese fan ever since.”

Jemma Rodgers said that Corto Maltese, considered to be among the most artistic literary graphic novels ever written, had “hooked” her from the start: “This pirate rogue with a reluctant golden heart will now get his fantastic adventures brought to life as an ambitious live-action TV series by the legendary Frank Miller. Spending time in the world of Corto Maltese will be full-on entertainment at its finest”.

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