Opinion: Hey Hollywood, New England is Calling!

By Carla Charter

Like most people I love a good movie. More and more these days I am finding these movies or at least a basis of a potential movie among the historical tales I write.

The story of Black Sam Bellamy comes to mind.  Bellamy, a Robin Hood type pirate, sailed to Eastham on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, seeking his fortune. While there, he fell in love with 15-year old Maria Hallett. With her pregnant, Bellamy sailed to Florida and the Hispaniola and Cuba area, raiding ships.

Sailing his signature ship, the Galley Whydah, which he confiscated during one of his raids he sailed north in the company of another ship, the Maryanne, possibly to visit Maria.

Maria meanwhile had given birth to the child and hidden the infant in a barn. While out foraging for food one day she came back to find her child had choked on some straw and died.  She was charged with murder and jailed, eventually being released and in her later years becoming a recluse.

Bellamy meanwhile met with a Nor’Easter and his ship sank. The Maryanne, which had sailed to Rhode Island, sank the same night. Between both ships, nine pirates survived and six of those were hung. My first thought when I told this tale in print was how does this not become a movie?

Then there was the Popham Colony in Maine, created at approximately the same time as Jamestown. Never heard of it? Neither had I until I wrote about it and volunteer efforts to build a replica of the Virginia, the first ship built at the colony. The ship was also the first in the New World and in Maine.

The story has it all, soldiers trying to survive a mini-ice age off the coast of Maine, a search for gold based on native legends, and let’s not forget that the only map of the colony was found in the Spanish archives in 1888, centuries after the colony was abandoned in 1608. A map that may have been brought to Spain via a spy in the colony. In my mind this is a blockbuster movie in the making.

These stories are only the tip of the new England Historical story iceberg. Visit any historical society and the stories are all there begging to be told.

We are waiting for our stories to be told. To be filmed in our landscape which is inexorably tied to these stories, another character in the tale themselves. We are waiting to see our heritage, our stories on the big screen.  So Hollywood, what about it?