THE man behind the futuristic Transformers movies is going back in time to develop a televised prequel to classic adventure story Treasure Island.

Director Michael Bay is set to mine interest in Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale - thanks to a new TV movie adaptation starring Eddie Izzard - for his own pirate series, titled Black Sails.

Bosses at U.S. cable network Starz have ordered eight episodes after learning that Bay’s project will follow the history of young John Silver 20 years before his legless villain Long John Silver appears in Stevenson’s novel.

Filming is expected to begin in South Africa later this year.

Meanwhile, Izzard and director Steve Barron are working on a Treasure Island sequel.                                    –WO