Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Julian Stockwin's "To the Eastern Seas"

Julian Stockwin was sent at the age of fourteen to Indefatigable, a tough sea-training school. He joined the Royal Navy at fifteen before transferring to the Royal Australian Navy, where he served for eight years in the Far East, Antarctic waters and the South Seas. In Vietnam he saw active service in a carrier task force. After leaving the Navy (rated Petty Officer), Stockwin practiced as an educational psychologist. He lived for some time in Hong Kong, where he was commissioned into the Royal Naval Reserve. He was awarded the MBE and retired with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.

Stockwin's latest Thomas Kydd novel is To the Eastern Seas.

Here the author shares some thoughts about adapting the Kydd novels for the screen:
I didn't have any specific actors or directors in mind when I began writing my Kydd tales. I was focused on a piece of advice my wife Kathy gave me: ´write the book you yourself want to read.´ Although there had been some fine Age of Sail books written I wanted to take a different approach - I decided to start with a man forced to join the Royal Navy against his will who comes to love the life - and thrives in Neptune´s Realm. I knew there had been a handful of seamen before the mast who against incredible odds had eventually become officers, some even captaining their own ship, a tiny few achieving their flag. What kind of men were they? How did they achieve this in a time when you knew your place and you stayed there? I also wanted to cast the sea in a more forward role. I wanted the reader as I did to experience both its majesty and its brutal power. To my mind any movie or TV series would have to be sensitive to these aspects.

Although I´m sure an action-packed movie could be made of my latest title To the Eastern Seas I´d love to see a movie or TV series based on a selection of the Kydd titles (22 to date), focusing on Kydd´s journey from pressed man to officer and ultimately admiral. There is a natural division - Thomas Kydd as a seaman on the lower deck and then his great achievement of crossing the divide to the quarterdeck - where he becomes an officer and a gentleman. So the silver screen could see two movies - and a TV series of multiple episodes.

Who would I like to play the lead roles (Thomas Kydd and his great friend Nicholas Renzi) - I´m open to suggestions but I strongly feel it should be a British actor. Quite drawn to Alex Pettifer as a candidate. Good looking, about the right age. As for the enigmatic Renzi, Kit Harrington appeals.

And perhaps Andrew Grieve as director?
Visit Julian Stockwin's website.

Writers Read: Julian Stockwin.

--Marshal Zeringue