Warner Bros. Pictures has picked up scribe Sean Sorensen’s pitch “Sealand” for WB-based Industry Entertainment to produce.
Project, described as a modern-day “Braveheart,” tells the story of the formation of the principality of Sealand, the smallest country on earth.
Set in the late 1960s, pic follows former British Maj. Roy Bates, who moved his family to an abandoned World War II anti-aircraft platform off the coast of England and declared it his own sovereign nation on Sept. 2, 1967.
Money from ‘Greed’
Sorensen developed a relationship with the British family that founded the country over the past two years and optioned the life rights to the Sealanders — Prince Roy I of Sealand, Princess Joan and Prince Michael Bates — with money he received from winning as a contestant on “Greed,” a now defunct gameshow on Fox.
Industry Entertainment’s Nick Wechsler and Nana Greenwald will produce with Robert DiNozzi, who brought pitch to Industry with Sorensen. Peter Dowling will co-produce. Sorensen will write screenplay and exec produce. WB Pictures senior VP of production Lionel Wigram and creative exec Kristin Lowe are overseeing the project.
“Nick and I thought this was a terrific and unique story about one man’s fight for personal freedom,” said Greenwald. “Even though he was a war hero and a patriot, he still battled his homeland because he believed in his right to form his own country, even one as small as a soccer field.”
Sorensen, repped by Genesis Agency and Eric Feig of Steiner, Feig & Conley, was made a citizen of Sealand. He is the only Sealand-American citizen in the world and carries a Sealand passport.
“When doing research there for the script, I learned the country bestows knighthoods on their citizens. I will become the first knight of Sealand after the movie’s made,” joked Sorensen.
“I first heard about this project when I was 9, and when I became reacquainted with the story last year I felt that it was such an empowering story I had to make a movie about it,” said Sorensen. “It’s an audacious and inspirational story about people that achieve seemingly impossible dreams.”
Sorensen also controls the rights to Stuart Kaminsky’s 23-book Toby Peters mystery series, to be developed as a TV series. He has also acquired the rights to Richard Bosworth novel “The Box Seat Dream,” described as “A Field of Dreams” for 11-year-olds.