I read about this historic ship today, built in Baltimore in the 1820s, used to transport slaves to Bahia, Brazil for a few years before the British Navy captured it. It was a fast, small and fierce ship, so they kept it in service as a slaver catcher.
From 1828 until it was decommissioned in 1832, HMS Black Joke freed thousands of slaves by capturing the boats transporting them.
When the Royal Navy ordered that Black Joke be burned, Peter Leonard, surgeon of HMS Dryad, wrote that she was the ship “which has done more towards putting an end to the vile traffic in slaves than all the ships of the station put together.”
Doesn’t this sound like the plot of a good movie? Maybe starring Idris Elba? Or someone like him in any case. In the Hollywood version, Elba is a slave, but freed, joins the crew, and rises through the ranks, yadda yadda. Who should the captain be? Russell Crowe already did a film based on the Master And Commander books, but maybe he’d make another navy epic? Maybe someone younger, like Robert Pattinson?
I’ll add it to my notebook of “Film Treatments I Really Should Write”, along with all the others…