Not letting truth get in the way

Published on July 15th, 2020

Variety reports how Netflix is developing a feature film based on Jessica Watson’s sailing memoir “True Spirit” with Sarah Spillane on board to direct.

Watson became the youngest person to sail solo, non-stop and unassisted around the world in 2009, surviving seven knockdowns while at sea for 210 days on a 33-foot vessel. She returned Sydney, Australia, three days before her 17th birthday. Watson said she didn’t consider herself a hero and described herself as an “ordinary person, who had a dream, worked hard at it and proved that anything really is possible.”

“It’s quite humbling to have Netflix bring my story to life,” Watson said. “I hope that the film inspires people around the world to try sailing and to also pursue their own adventures. I’m thrilled that it will be directed by Sarah and supported by such a strong production team.”

Spillane, whose directing credits include “Around the Block” and “This Life,” will write the script with Cathy Randall. Debra Martin Chase (“The Princess Diaries,” “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants”) of Martin Chase Productions is producing the film with Andrew Fraser (“Lion”) for Sunstar Entertainment. Spillane and Shahen Mekertichian for Sunstar Entertainment will serve as executive producers.

Watson will consult on the biopic. She also self-filmed a documentary, “210 Days,” which is narrated by Richard Branson. She was named Young Australian of the Year in 2011 and received an Order of Australian Medal) in 2012 for service to sailing and as a role model for young Australians.

Editor’s note: We feel awkward in pointing out that while Jessica did sail around the world, and she did complete her voyage younger than anyone else, she took a shortcut from the recognized route used for comparing circumnavigations. Now, a decade later, the words of Mark Twain continue to ring: “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story.”

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