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Netflix is developing a family feature about Jessica Watson, who became the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world in 2009 at the age of 16.
The movie based on Watson’s memoir True Spirit will be directed by fellow Australian Sarah Spillane, while Princess Diaries producer Debra Martin Chase will produce. Spillane and Cathy Randall are writing the screenplay.
To complete her solo voyage, Watson navigated some of the world’s most challenging stretches of oceans while at sea for 210 days.
“It’s quite humbling to have Netflix bring my story to life. I hope that the film inspires people around the world to try sailing and to also pursue their own adventures,” Watson said in a statement. While battling 40-foot waves, she survived several knockdowns where Watson’s sail boat lay over enough for the mast to touch or go beneath the water.
Andrew Fraser (Lion) will also produce the Netflix biopic, while Shahen Mekertichian will executive produce. Watson will consult on the project.
While at sea on her solo voyage, the young Australian filmed her own a documentary, 210 Days, which is narrated by Sir Richard Branson. Writer-director Spillane directed the 2013 feature urban drama Around the Block, where Christina Ricci played an impassioned American teaching Shakespeare to indigenous Australian teens.
“I am honored and excited to be charged with bringing Jessica’s extraordinary journey to screen. What drew me to Jessica’s story is her relentless fight and determination to defy the odds and accomplish her dream in a world that is largely dominated by men, making her a source of inspiration for so many people, especially young women, across the globe,” Spillane said in her own statement.
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