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Monahan sets sail on ‘Essex’

Writer, King try fleet feat

Graham King’s GK Films and William Monahan are setting sail on “The Essex,” an historical drama about Capt. David S. Porter and his daring sea battles against the British during the War of 1812.

Monahan has written the script and is in talks to direct.

King and Monahan will produce the film. While GK has a first-look deal at Warner Bros., King hasn’t decided whether to set the project up at a studio.

At a time when the ships of the British Royal Navy heavily outnumbered the American naval fleet, Porter steered the Essex past British cruisers to reach the Pacific, where it devastated the British whaling fleet before engaging in a final battle with a special Brit squadron.

Monahan covered the historical time period in his first major script sale with “Tripoli,” a project still percolating at Fox.

Monahan and King are teamed on several other projects. Monahan scripted and King produced the Martin Campbell-directed “Edge of Darkness,” the Mel Gibson starrer that GK Films financed and will distribute in the fall.

Monahan makes his directorial debut this summer on “London Boulevard.” King is producing the film with Quentin Curtis.

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