If you’ve known The Beat for a long time, you know there’s one thing we love more than anything and it’s Corto Maltese. Hugo Pratt’s languid, chiaroscuro, fin de siecle adventurer may have been a colonizer, but he was drawn so damned well.
There have been a few successful French language films based on Corto – live action and animated – but in the US he remains known mostly to Euro comics nerds and admirers of pen and ink work.
But that could be changing. It seems a more international film version is underway, Variety reports. The film will be directed by French director Christophe Gan (Silent Hill, Brotherhood of the Wolf), who says Corto is a dream project for him. The film will feature Milla Jovavich, and possibly have a role for Michelle Yeoh, the G.O.A.T, and star English actor Tom Hughes. And of course it could be a tentpole.
Producers see “Corto Maltese” as a potential mass-appeal franchise starter similar to the “Indiana Jones,” “Sherlock Holmes” and “Pirates of the Caribbean” franchises. The movie is based on the stories of an adventurous sailor, created by comic book author and novelist Hugo Pratt and set at the dawn of the 20th Century.
Principal photography is slated to begin in January in Europe and China. In the film, Corto Maltese has been hired by a Chinese revolutionary group to hijack the armored train of the Russian Emperor Czar Nicolas II that is transporting his gold from St. Petersburg to Vladivostok with multiple schemes to capture this priceless treasure.
Of course, you must be thinking, who could possibly be up to playing the impossibly dashing and romantic Corto, or look as good in a pea coat? Most important, would he have good sideburns? Hugo Pratt was really big on high cheekbones and sideburns, and acting quality is clearly a secondary matter.
Well, it seems Hughes is best known for playing Prince Albert in the Brit teacup drama Victoria, (which is about Queen Victoria, der). Such a role would definitely require sterling Victorian Era-grade sideburns, and at a press event for Victoria, Hughes revealed that he has sideburns that are amazingly, thrillingly Corto-esque.Embed from Getty Images
But did the sideburns only extend to his Victorian role? Browsing Getty Images for a few hours, I was able to find much evidence that it is just his look.Embed from Getty Images
His look. I feel that…well, I…I…
Embed from Getty Images
I feel great confidence that this man can wear a pea coat. I…we have our Corto. Well done, Cristolphe Gan.
The Beat will be following Hughes’ progress in the role very closely.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.