"THE REBEL BUCCANEER" - SYNOPSIS

"THE REBEL BUCCANEER" - The Story of John Paul Jones


Original screenplay by Graham Rhodes


Master and Commander meets Hornblower meets Revolution – a proposed film that features a forgotten American hero alongside a different perspective on the American War of Independence. 

The Rebel Buccaneer is an adventure story of the sea in the finest tradition of classic pirate and war stories. It is the true story of a Scotsman who first ventured to sea at 13 years old, who became a successful merchant seaman. A sea captain who walked away from the slave industry in disgust, who who helped America win it's independence when on the advent of the American War of Independence threw in his lot with the American rebels and was commissioned First Lieutenant in the new Continental Navy.
   
A man who was the first man to raise the Stars and Stripes on a ship and who carried the American War of Independence into Britain’s own inshore waters, defeating a British man of war in a thrilling sea battle off the Yorkshire coast. Whose daring actions at sea made him a hero of Parisian society and he spent  a deal of time in enjoying the attentions of the adoring female population, taking many mistresses.

A man who was the only man in the history of the sea to hold a position in the American Navy and also be a Rear Admiral in the Imperial Russian Navy, sailing for Catherine the Great in her war with the Turks.

An American hero whose remains were laid to rest in the crypt of the U.S. Naval Academy Chapel in Annapolis, Maryland, over a hundred years after his death when President Theodore Roosevelt sent four cruisers to bring it back to the U.S., and these ships were escorted up the Chesapeake Bay by seven battleships. Today, a Marine honour guard stands duty whenever the crypt is open to the public

However, in addition to being a dashing heroic sea captain John Paul Jones was also a hard, uncompromising and complex man, a man who was declared pirate and rebel by the British authorities. A sea captain who was twice accused of the murder of members of his own crew, and who, despite being feted by the newly formed American Congress and the King and Queen of France, managed to alienate just about everyone who sailed or employed him. Throughout the film we will meet many famous figures of history such as Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson Louis XV, and Catherine the Great, and bring them alive as real flesh and blood characters.

The proposed film begins in 1792 inside the Parisian apartment of John Paul Jones. Outside in the streets the French Revolution is running its bloody course, inside John Paul Jones is failing in health. He is in the company of one of his many mistresses. As he lies in bed he remembers and narrates the story of his life, which is seen is a series of flashbacks, to his attentive mistress.

Intercut with this main action, we also see simultaneous discussion being held between Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. They are discussing what to do with their adopted adventurer. In this discussion we see a different side to the story that John Paul Jones is narrating. We see him as his the hard, stiff necked Scotsman, disliked by his American counter parts.

As his life slips away and John Paul Jones dies in Paris, we see George Washington sign the letter telling the one time pirate that he is now promoted American Commissioner to Algiers – a poignant reminder of the debt of honour America owed to it’s forgotten hero.

A first draft script is now available.