Inferno sets biopic of ‘Whale Wars’ star

Feature to follow Capt. Paul Watson's Greenpeace days

Inferno Entertainment is going to sea with “Ocean Warrior,” a bigscreen biopic about eco-pirate and “Whale Wars” star Capt. Paul Watson.

Action-thriller will follow Watson’s early days at Greenpeace and his creation of the controversial Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which wages dangerous ocean battles against illegal whaling vessels.

Animal Planet’s reality TV series “Whale Wars” follows Watson and his org as they attempt to stop Japanese ships from hunting whales off the coast of Antarctica in the Southern Ocean Whale Sanctuary.

Keith Ross Leckie (“To Walk With Lions”) and Julie Allan (“The Prince of Cool”) are penning the script.

“Ocean Warriors” is a co-production of See Pictures in Australia, TED Pictures and Transfilm in Canada and Calt in France. Inferno will exec produce.

“During his career, Paul has been called both a hero and a terrorist, refusing to be defined by anything but his mission to conserve and protect marine life. We are thrilled to bring this complex and thought-provoking character to the bigscreen,” Inferno partner Bill Johnson said.

“Whale Wars” recently finished its third season. The September finale, which garnered record-setting ratings for Animal Planet, chronicled the arrest of Sea Shepherd activist Capt. Pete Bethune by Japanese authorities after his vessel collided with the Shonan Maru 2 in January and sank.

In 2007, Watson convinced the Discovery Channel to make “Whale Wars.” Show debuted on Animal Planet in November 2008. It’s been renewed for a fourth season.

A Canadian, Watson was an early and influential member of Greenpeace but found himself at odds with the org when he advocated more direct action. He was expelled from the Greenpeace board in 1977 and founded Sea Shepherd that same year.

Inferno, led by Johnson and Jim Seibel, has a busy slate. Last week, the production, finance and sales company announced at AFM tha it’s financing “Cogan’s Trade.” Project reteams Andrew Dominik and Brad Pitt; it was sold to much of the world during AFM based on a pitch by Dominik. CAA is repping domestic rights on “Cogan’s Trade.”

Among its other projects, Inferno is in post on “The Killer Elite,” starring Jason Statham, Clive Owen and Robert De Niro, and it’s prepping Joe Carnahan’s “The Grey,” which Liam Neeson is attached to topline.

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