The life of 16th century Ottoman admiral and cartographer Piri Reis is set for the big screen, and the epic, currently in the early stages of development, has already received support from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, according to its producer, quoted by Zaman Today.
The movie’s producer, Cumali Varer, who originally ran a tourism company in France, has rolled up his sleeves for the epic, expected for theatrical release in 2011, according to a report posted on the Turkish movie website sinematurk.com. “I met the prime minister while in Istanbul, and he agreed to support [my movie]. Everyone will be talking about this film in 2011,” Varer was quoted as saying in the report, which originally appeared in the Aksam daily.
Piri Reis is best known for world maps and charts collected in his Kitab-i Bahriye (Book of Navigation).
The movie, to be titled Barbaresque scheduled to be shot in 2010, will recount how Piri Reis, along with his uncle, Kemal Reis, took part in an Ottoman navy mission to Spain to rescue the Arabs and Sephardic Jews who were expelled by the Spanish Inquisition in 1492. A life-size replica of Piri Reis’s vessel is currently being built in the Tuzla shipyards.
Eric Bana has reportedly been in talks to play the role of the legendary seaman in the movie. The Australian actor, whose big screen credits include Black Hawk Down (2001), Troy (2004) and The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), is said to have agreed to star in the movie and is in the process of signing on for the film, the report said. Varer is also in talks to sign French actor Jean Reno for the role of Kemal Reis. British actress Keira Knightley, of Pirates of the Caribbean fame, is also expected to join the cast.
“We signed a contract with a French movie studio for filming. Shooting will also take place in Malta, Italy and Spain. As long as everything goes as planned, everybody will be talking about this film in 2011,” Varer said.