If you’ve been craving more films about the open sea and you want a healthy dose of character development to go with your action set pieces, 20th Century Studios is about to grant your wish. Deadline is reporting that a new “Master and Commander” film is currently in the works, nearly two decades after the release of the first movie. 2003’s “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World” was, at best, a mild success, taking in $211 million against a budget of $150 million. That’s not the kind of profit margin that Disney would typically favor, and as the new owners of 20th Century, the prequel’s existence is a pleasant surprise amid the overflow of Marvel vehicles that are guaranteed moneymakers.
The initial “Master and Commander” film starred Russell Crowe, riding a wave of yearly consecutive Academy Award nominations that included a victory for “Gladiator,” as Captain Jack Aubrey, who helms the HMS Surprise. He and his crew must overtake a French ship that was last seen somewhere off the coast of South America. The film focuses on Aubrey’s friendship with Stephen Maturin (Paul Bettany), the ship’s physician who becomes Aubrey’s most trusted confidante. Although it was not an enormously popular movie with audiences, critics praised the film’s balance of epic naval battles and the exploration of personalities, especially the bond between Aubrey and Maturin.