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Donald Sutherland seen at the 2012 Vanity Fair Oscar party in West Hollywood.Reuters

Donald Sutherland is set to produce, write and star in an animated film for CBC-TV.

Sutherland's production company, Martin's River Ink, Inc., says work has begun on "Pirate's Passage."

The film is based on William Gilkerson's adventure novel about a 12-year-old boy who forms a tight bond with a mysterious sailor, Captain Johnson.

Sutherland will provide the voice of Johnson, while Gage Munroe ("The Immortals") plays the young Jim Hawkins, Carrie-Anne Moss ("The Matrix") is his hard-luck mother and Kim Coates ("Sons of Anarchy") is a ruthless local businessman.

The star-studded cast also includes Sutherland's son Rossif Sutherland ("Reign"), Colm Feore ("The Borgias"), Megan Follows ("Anne of Green Gables"), Paul Gross ("Passchendaele") and Gordon Pinsent ("Away From Her").

Sutherland describes the project as "a thrillingly exhilarating adventure, a glorious coming-of-age-story, rich in both imagination and history, in perception and truth."

"I couldn't put the book down," Sutherland said Monday in a statement.

"It resonated with the clearest image of the man inside every boy's being that I could imagine. It was life writ true and I knew Jim and Captain Johnson's marvellous journey had to be seen on screen."

Gilkerson's book won a Governor General's Award for children's literature in 2006.

"Pirate's Passage" is set in 1952 in Grey Rocks, N.S., a south shore town known 250 years ago as a favoured port of pirates.

Jim is reeling from the death of his father and the schoolyard bully when he meets the mysterious Captain, who quickly inserts himself as a mentor and friend.

Sutherland and his partner and co-writer, Brad Peyton, will produce the film while Peyton will co-direct with Mike Barth of PIP Animation.