Phil Tippett to Oversee VFX for Frank Miller’s Live-Action Series Corto Maltese Based on the Graphic Novel

Corto Maltese
Corto Maltese image via Hugo Pratt
Phil Tippett
Phil Tippett in 2000

Frank Miller (Sin City) is set to write and executive produce a live-action series based on Hugo Pratt‘s graphic novel series Corto Maltese, and Oscar winner Phil Tippett, who has worked on the Star Wars and Jurassic Park franchises, will oversee VFX for the show.

Studiocanal is backing the project, which was created by Miller. The goal right now is to produce a six-episode series about Maltese, a daring sea captain whose fantastical adventures bring him into contact with real-life figures such as Ernest Hemingway, Jack London, and famed thief Butch Cassidy.

Jemma Rodgers will executive produce the Corto Maltese series alongside Miller and Silenn Thomas, the CEO of Frank Miller Ink. Studiocanal execs Ron Halpern and Francoise Guyonnet will oversee the project on behalf of the studio.

“I first discovered Corto Maltese reading the books at Forbidden Planet in New York as a young man,” Miller said in a statement. “Then, on my travels, I studied and discovered an edition at a newsstand in Rome. The artwork was so expressive and so bold that it leapt off the newsprint. 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. This is the hero’s journey in its most classic form, and I couldn’t be more honored to help bring into this series the romanticism, heroism, and underlying mysticism of Pratt’s creation.”

Corto Maltese
Corto Maltese image via Hugo Pratt

Pratt launched the graphic novel way back in 1967, and though he died in 1996, his close collaborator Patrizia Zanotti said that Pratt always respected Miller and his work.

“Hugo Pratt appreciated Frank Miller’s work from the very beginning, so much so that he published him in the Corto Maltese magazine in 1988. Pratt, like Miller, [was a] student of American classic [cartoonists] like Milton Caniff, with their use of shadows, dramatic inks, and bold brushwork,” Zanotti added in her own statement. “Who better to reinterpret Hugo Pratt’s world than Frank Miller after all the characters and worlds the legendary creator has brought to us? Pratt would be thrilled to see his character Corto Maltese revived through an author who has the extraordinary ability to carry on timeless myths, introducing iconic characters to new generations. Pratt has said through one of his characters that ‘nothing is written that cannot be rewritten.’ I believe that no one else other than Frank Miller could interpret the creative impulse inherent in this phrase.”

Miller, who co-directed the first two Sin City films with Robert Rodriguez, and whose comics and graphic novels include 300, The Dark Knight Returns, Batman: Year One, and Daredevil: Born Again, launched a new publishing banner, Frank Miller Presents, earlier this year. He is president/EIC of the imprint, which just published Ronan: Book Two and Ancient Enemies. Miller is represented by UTA, and Deadline broke the news of the Corto Maltese project.

Tippett recently wrote and directed the stop-motion animated experimental horror movie Mad God, which was produced over a period of 30 years and debuted on Shudder this past summer. Watch the trailer below: