‘Krakatoa’ heats up National Geo Films

Scott to pen original script about catastrophe, romance

National Geographic Feature Films is erupting over “Krakatoa.”

Company is gearing up to film a “Titanic”-style epic adventure/love story set amid the 1883 volcanic explosion off the coast of Java.

Gavin Scott is writing an original script to focus on relationships that take place against the turbulent backdrop of the decline of Dutch imperial power; the rise of Islamic fundamentalism; the advancing role of science and technology; and the cataclysmic eruption.

Simon Winchester, author of bestselling nonfiction book “Krakatoa: The Day the World Exploded,” will consult on the project, although his book was not optioned.

Dennis Patrick, president of NGFF parent National Geographic Ventures, will exec produce “Krakatoa.” NGFF chairman Jake Eberts and president Adam Leipzig are producing.

“Because of National Geographic’s mission and research resources, we are uniquely qualified to bring this historic event to the screen,” Patrick said. “As the Earth was erupting with fire and lava, the social, political and cultural orders of the time were in major turmoil. The film will be about men and women caught in a natural phenomenon amid a world churning with new ideas and movements.”

The 1969 pic on the subject, “Krakatoa, East of Java,” starred Maximilian Schell and was directed by Bernard Kowalski. (In fact, Krakatoa is west of Java, a fact National Geo can be counted on to get right.)

Gavin Scott wrote and directed the soon-to-be released “The Battle for Treasure Island.” Other film credits include “Small Soldiers” and “The Borrowers.” He also wrote “Earthsea,” the Sci Fi Channel miniseries based on Ursula K. Le Guin’s books that stars Danny Glover and Isabella Rossellini. It will air in December.

Besides “Krakatoa,” Winchester is the author of “The Professor and the Madman: A Tale of Murder, Insanity and the Making of the Oxford English Dictionary” and “The Map that Changed the World: William Smith and the Birth of Modern Geology.”

This fall NGFF begins production on the Richard Gere starrer “Emperor Zehnder,” the true story of Bruno Zehnder, who dedicated his life to photographing Emperor penguins in the Antarctic. “On the Wing,” starring Robert Redford and adapted from Erik Jendresen from Alan Tennant’s upcoming book, is in development.

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