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2016 & BeyondIn the Works/Rumored/On the Shelf
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Essential viewing in the UK: Dan Cruikshank's Civilization Under Attack, a BBC documentary about the Islamic State's war on world heritage. Interviews some interesting insights from Rubicon author Tom Holland. Official site with streaming details (in UK only) here. If you know of a US broadcast or DVD release, please let Steven know!

Last Days in the Desert, an imagined chapter from Jesus’ forty days of fasting in the desert, features Ewan McGregor playing both Jesus and the Devil. The film debuted at Sundance in January, 2015, but at mid-year has not yet found a distributor. Check for updated release dates here.

Spike promises a “six hour, three-night, epic event” when the mini-series Tut debuts on July 19, 2015. Avan Jogia plays the beleaguered Egyptian Pharaoh; Ben Kingsley is his advisor. Official page with trailer here.

British actor Oliver Rix plays David in the ABC TV series Of Kings and Prophets, upcoming in Fall 2015. Ray Winstone plays King Saul in the Biblical saga. Remembering earlier screen incarnations of David by the likes of Gregory Peck and Richard Gere, a question pops into Steven’s head: Is this the first time Hollywood has thought to cast a Jewish actor to play the quintessential Jewish hero? Official page wth trailer here.

In Rome’s Invisible City, first broadcast on BBC on June 1, 2015, historian Michael Scott and TV presenter Xander Armstrong go underground to investigate the world of subterranean Rome, taking along a team of 3D laser scanners to map their findings. Official site with streaming details (in UK only) here. If you know of a US broadcast or DVD release, please let Steven know!

With splendid clarity (and a PhD in papyrology), Margaret Mountford travels to Lesbos in search of the truth behind the legend of Sappho. Step by step, Mountford lays out precisely what we do and do not know about the most controversial writer of the ancient world and the first authentic woman’s voice in Western history. Sappho: Life and Love on Lesbos first aired on May 7, 2015 on BBC. Official page site with streaming details (in UK only) here. If you know of a US broadcast or DVD release, please let Steven know!

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The Barbican’s modern-dress production of Sophocles’ Antigone with Juliette Binoche in the title role (and a new English translation by poet and classicist Anne Carson) aired on BBC on April 26, 2015, with the starstruck title Juliette Binoche: Antigone at the Barbican. Official site with streaming details (in UK only) here. If you know of a US broadcast or DVD release, please let Steven know!

The always astute Alastair Sooke heads to the land of Homer for the three-part series Treasures of Ancient Greece, debuting on BBC April 9, 2015. Official site with streaming details (in UK only) here. If you know of a US broadcast or DVD release, please let Steven know!

As part of the authored series “Secret Knowledge,” BBC presented The Body Beautiful: Ancient Greeks, Good Looks and Glamour on April 8, 2015. Classicist Natalie Haynes asks: Do we have the Greeks to blame for our obsessive body-consciousness and longing for perfect beauty—or did they simply capture better than anyone else a universal human ideal? Official site with streaming details (in UK only) here. If you know of a US broadcast or DVD release, please let Steven know!

Olympus premiered April 2, 2015 on SyFy. A visit to the official site might suggest this fantasy series is pitched at a juvenile audience more familiar with Homer Simpson than Homer (d’oh!), but Steven found the first episode unexpectedly engaging. Any connection to the actual myths and legends of the ancient Greeks is tenuous—but hey, Euripides did his own thang with Medea, so why not SyFy?

A.D.: The Bible Continues premieres Easter Sunday (April 5, 2015) on NBC. From IMDb: “Tagline: The crucifixion was only the beginning! Plot: A.D. picks up where the smash hit, The Bible, left off, continuing the greatest story ever told…” Don’t you love show biz?

The Dovekeepers, a 4-hour miniseries based on Alice Hoffman’s best-selling novel, premiered March 31, 2015 on CBS. The story follows various women in ancient Israel whose lives intersect at Masada, the mountaintop stronghold besieged by the Roman army around 74 B.C. Since a previous miniseries based on the siege—Masada, broadcast in 1981—happens to be on Steven’s Top Ten Ancient World Movies list, he was keenly interested in this new production…and sorely disappointed. “The history is inaccurate and the storytelling is inept. All the guys look like cover models for romance novels, and all the gals are witchy-women who have a different way of knowing. If you happen to like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing you may like…but it’s not my cup of tea.”

It’s raining Bible movies! Hot on the heels of last year’s Noah is the TV movie The Ark, which premiered on BBC on March 30, 2015. The weirdly charismatic David Threlfall played Noah; the drama itself was simply weird, with a cockney household somehow transported to an indefinite ancient world setting where the inhabitants argue anachronistic questions of faith v. science…and if you blink, you’ll miss the Flood entirely. More info here.

The fascinating Nova episode The Bible’s Buried Secrets was first broadcast on PBS on March 26, 2015. The 2-hour documentary does an excellent job of explaining how historians and archaeologists establish dates for events and objects. Most eyebrow-raising scene: modern-day Samaritans practicing animal sacrifice, just like the good old days! Web page here; also available on DVD.

A great animated short from National Geographic, Time Travel to Ancient Rome, shows one idea of how Trajan’s Column was built—and reminds us that it was probably brightly painted, making it one of Rome’s most eye-catching monuments. (As to why the column was built, See Part Four of Steven’s novel Empire.)

The French comedy series Peplum debuted on February 24, 2015. From the official synopsis: “Against the background of decline of the Roman Empire, Peplum takes us into the lives of Bravus, a former slave who becomes adviser to the tyrannical Emperor Maximus. Between a stressful workplace and a chaotic family life, his days are not easy. At work, Bravus must clean up the messes made by the incompetent, cruel, capricious and narcissistic Maximus. At home, he must deal with his son Caius’s recent conversion to Christianity, his uncouth wife Octavia, and his sassy daughter Lydia. How can Bravus avoid burn-out in a declining society? The parallels with today can not be a coincidence.” A French Region 2 DVD of season one releases on April 8. 2015.

Nova: Building Wonders began airing on PBS on February 11, 2015. (A DVD releases on March 31.) Episode titles: Colosseum: Roman Death Trap; Petra: Lost City of Stone; and Hagia Sophia: Istanbul’s Mystery. Military historian Lindsay Powell posted this tart review of episode one on Steven’s facebook page: “It was a well produced programme. There weren't any new revelations. Reconstructing the lift mechanism in the hypogeum was a good idea. It was inconsistent though: the concern to fell the tree for the capstan using Roman methods was then not followed through in the construction of the device, where electric drills, threaded screws and nylon rope were everywhere evident. The ships in the naumachia sailed backwards too. And Vespasian Flavius: who is that? Still, overall 8/10. Much better than History Channel's Ancient Impossible.” Home page for the series here.

Did Troy really exist? Was there a war with invading Greeks? And was the Trojan horse a myth, or somehow real—either literally, or as a metaphor for some type of military device? Heady questions these, addressed by the Channel 4 doc Trojan Horse: The New Evidence, first broadcast in the UK on February 14, 2015. Presenters include military historian Mark Schwartz (seen here, with the on-site Trojan horse tourist trap in Turkey) and Barry Strauss (author of The Trojan War: A Hew History). For more info, visit the programme page. If you know of a US broadcast or DVD release, please let Steven know!

In Roman Britain: A Timewatch Guide (first broadcast in the UK on February 17, 2015), Dr. Alice Roberts uses 50 years of film from the BBC archives to explore how ideas about Roman Britain have evolved over the decades. Along the way she investigates the Roman invasion, Hadrian's Wall, the Vindolanda tablets, and the eventual collapse of Roman rule. For more info and streaming options in the UK, visit the programme page. If you know of a US broadcast or DVD release, please let Steven know!

She’s the queen we never get tired of—or in other words, “Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite variety.” Using the BBC film archives, Vanessa Collingridge explores how our view of Cleopatra has changed over the years, and how the last of the regal Ptolemies has become lost amid myth, cliché and propaganda. Cleopatra: A Timewatch Guide debuted on BBC on February 10, 2015. For more info and streaming options in the UK, visit the programme page. If you know of a US broadcast or DVD release, please let Steven know!

In Dragon Blade, lost Romans soldiers trek across China…and meet Jackie Chan! Set in the era of the Han dynasty (206-220 CE), the epic action movie also stars Oscar-winner Adrien Brody, Joan Cusack’s brother, and singing sensations The Chopsticks Brothers. See the mesmerizing trailer here. (Did a “lost legion” of Romans ever end up in China? Read a rather skeptical Wikipedia article about the question here.) The film opens wide in China on February 19, 2015; US release is not yet announced. (If you have an update, please let Steven know!) An ancient East-West mash-up previously figured in the 2011 Malaysian movie Clash of Empires, and yet another Rome v. China movie may be in the works by scripter Kurt Johnstad (search this page for his name for more info.)

The Lost Legion promises “sex, corruption, betrayal and the final death throws [sic] of a once powerful empire. Where enemies become allies, allies become pawns and one man’s struggle to survive is the last chance for a new Rome.” A feature-length pilot movie released January 20, 2015 (now streaming at Amazon) with spin-off TV series to follow (13 episodes have been shot in Prague). Any resemblance to actual Roman history is entirely coincidental. More info here. The “officail [sic] trailer” (here) makes clear the intent to cash in on the sex-and-violence formula of Starz’s Spartacus, but without the acting chops of Lucy Lawless and company.

The long-delayed Sinbad: The Fifth Voyage, directed by and starring Shahin Sean Solimon, finally began streaming at iTunes and Amazon in late 2014; a DVD is promised for February 3, 2015. For the monsters, the movie uses old-fashioned stop-motion effects (here called Super Animotion) pioneered by the late, great Ray Harryhausen. See the trailer here.

Coming from Fox in 2015: the TV series Hieroglyph, set in a mythical ancient Egypt “where fantasy and reality intertwine.” Watch the official trailer. Update: Fox cancelled this series even before it aired. See the story here.

Sean Bean will play the title role in Caesar, a new film adaptation of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, which word for word may have more famous lines than any other play. Tom Weston-Jones will play Brutus, with François Arnaud as Antony. This will be the first feature film directed by Tiago Mesquita. Release is targeted for 2015. Update: As 2014 comes to a close, it seems Sean Bean is no longer attached to this project. Anybody got the scoop? Please let Steven know!
In development is The Redemption of Cain, based on the Bible story of the world’s first siblings. One of them is murdered…but it’s not much of a whodunit, is it? Cain and Abel, Romulus and Remus; brothers were always killing each other in the Ancient World! Reports suggest that Will Smith may make his directorial debut with this movie, and rumor has it that the script puts a vampiric twist on the Bible tale. The poster art at left mysteriously appeared at the film’s IMDb page; the cuneiform supposedly translates, “Call Your God,” and promises release in Summer 2015. If you have an update, please let Steven know!
Yet another Bible movie: Mary, about the mother of Jesus, with Ben Kingsley playing King Herod. Look for release in April 2015.

Mark Wahlberg has signed as producer for The Roman, an action biopic about the young Julius Caesar's adventures when he was kidnapped by pirates. In the history books (following Caesar’s version of events), the snotty upper-crust captive lorded it over his rag-tag captors, was ransomed, then came back and crucified all the pirates to teach them a lesson, thus establishing his bona fides as a no-nonsense law-and-order politician; will Hollywood deliver the same stern moral lesson? Mary Butts wrote a great short story about this episode, “A Roman Speaks,” included in the collection The Classical Novels, and the Sword & Sandal genre gave us Caesar Against the Pirates (1962), with Uruguayan actor Gustavo Rojo as Caesar and Gordon Mitchel as the pirate king—read a review here, or watch here. But if you want the real story of Caesar and the Pirates, Roman historian Josiah Osgood explores all the sources here. Illustration above: artist unknown. (If you can identify the source, please let Steven know!) Look for The Roman in 2015.

Legendary British filmmaker Peter Greenaway (The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover) plans to produce a multi-media project dedicated to “Agrippa, the right-hand man and brother-in-law of the Emperor Augustus.” Greenaway made the announcement in September 2014 at the Museo Archeologico Virtuale at Herculaneum. “I went to Herculaneum first when I was 21,” said Greenaway, “I was fascinated by the power that these ruins have to recount history. For me history does not exist, only the historians who recount it and in their accounts there always is an element of falsehood. Agrippa has always fascinated me because in an era in which there was a great struggle for power, he chose, and in some way accepted, to live in the shadow of the Emperor Augustus. In my story, which will be recounted with a film, an exhibit, a performance and a website, I will make Agrippa die at Pompeii.” Shown here: a still from Greenaway’s The Belly of an Architect, which was shot in Rome.

Coming in 2016 and Beyond…

Risen follows the investigation of a Roman tribune (Joseph Fiennes) tasked with finding the truth about a reputed resurrection from the dead, in order to quash a possible uprising in Jerusalem. (Treating the death of Jesus as a mystery has been done at least twice before on the screen, in the excellent 1986 intellectual thriller The Inquiry, and its not-so-excellent 2011 remake, The Final Inquiry). Look for release in January, 2016.

Aiming for an Easter 2016 release: the big screen version of the Anne Rice novel Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt, which follows the fortunes of young Jesus and his parents as they leave Alexandria to return home to Nazareth. But…will there be vampires?

Israeli actress Gal Gadot will play Diana Prince aka Wonder Woman, who also happens to be the daughter of the Greek god Zeus, in Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. Will there be other Classical allusions in this action film from Zach Snyder, director of 300? Look for release in 2016.

Just Jared grabbed this shot of Gerard Butler (as Egyptian god Set) and two minions being filmed against blue screen for Gods of Egypt, an upcoming epic in which a young thief (Brenton Thwaites) joins a mythical god on a quest through ancient Egypt. Coincidentally, writer-director Alex Proyas was born in Egypt, to Greek parents (but moved to Australia when he was three years old). Look for release in 2016.

A new big-screen version of Ben-Hur is in the works, with Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) directing, based on the classic novel about a wealthy Jew who falls from grace, then finds another kind of grace thanks to Jesus, with slavery, sea battles and chariot races along the way. Also on board as producers are Roma Downey and Mark Burnett, the married team who brought you The Bible miniseries, so expect heavy marketing to the Christian audience. The Charlton Heston version (image above) set a record for Oscar-wins back in 1959; a TV miniseries made a lesser splash a few years ago. IMDb shows a target release date of 2016.

ITV has commissioned a new four-part drama, Tutankhamun, about British archaeologist Howard Carter’s long journey to the discovery of the tomb of Ancient Egypt’s boy-king, Tutankhamun. Written by Guy Burt (The Bletchley Circle) and set against Egypt’s Valley of the Kings, the story unfolds from 1905 when Carter, in his early twenties, is fervently leading an expedition with a grim determination to find lost antiquities. When the hot-headed Carter’s license to dig is revoked by Cairo’s Antiquities Service, Carter spends years ostracized, disheveled and living rough, resorting to selling previously discovered archaeological relics to buy food. But a chance meeting with the dashing, suave and eccentric Lord Carnarvon brings a change of fortunes. Filming begins in late 2015. More info here.

Horror director Len Wiseman (of Underworld Trilogy fame) is looking to direct a new Mummy movie for release in 2016. To hear Wiseman’s pitch, it’s all about snagging the largest possible audience: “We’re reaching into the deep roots of The Mummy, which at its beating heart is a horror movie and then an action movie, and putting it into a context that is real and emotional. It’s still a four quadrant film but as a lot of recent movies have proven, audiences are hungry for more than they used to be. You can still have a family movie, an action movie that’s more grounded than these used to be. Without saying too much, we’ve drawn a lot of inspiration from Michael Crichton’s books, and how he ground fantastical sales in modern-day science.” Do people in Hollywood really talk like this? Yes they do! At IMDb, this forthcoming “film product” currently has the moniker of Untitled Mummy Reboot. Sounds like a movie with lots of heart. (Photo above: the real mummy of Ramses II.)

In the works for 2016 is Jason and the Argonauts: The Kingdom of Hades, apparently based on the graphic novel of the same name, which follows the fortunes of the Argonauts after the quest for the Golden Fleece—essentially a sequel to the 1963 movie Jason and the Argonauts. See a preview of the graphic novel here. The same publisher, under the “Ray Harryhausen Presents” imprint, gave us the graphic novel Wrath of the Titans.

In the Works Rumored On the Shelf:

In 53 BC, the Roman army of Crassus was massacred by Parthian forces at the battle of Carrhae. In the 1940s, Oxford scholar Homer H. Dubs speculated that some of Crassus’s Roman soldiers were taken prisoner and eventually found themselves in the Gansu province of Han Dynasty China. From this intriguing material, scripter Kurt Johnstad is working on a movie project for Warner Bros. (Johnstad was co-writer of 300 and 300: Rise of an Empire.) This project apparently has no connection to the 2005 novel Empire of Dragons by Valerio Massimo Manfredi (cover art above), which engaged in similar clash-of-cultures speculation. (Manfredi set his story in A.D. 260, with the capture of the Roman emperor Valerian by the Persians.) Did a “lost legion” of Romans ever end up in China? Read a rather skeptical Wikipedia article about the question here. If you have updates on this project, please let Steven know!

Vin Diesel long ago announced his intention to make his directorial debut and star as Hannibal the Conqueror, the Carthaginian general who crossed the Alps with elephants to menace Rome, working from a script by Oscar-winner David Franzoni (Gladiator, King Arthur) based on the novel Hannibal by Ross Leckie. In April 2014, Vin announced that the project was back in pre-production, and credited his friend and co-star the late Paul Walker for inspiring him to get the project back on track. “He would always say, ‘You need to do Hannibal. It will be your life's work.’ Vin also indicated his intention to expand the project into a trilogy. “We must go further back in time, to grasp the magnitude and relevance of this underserved historic character. The first film in this trilogy will do just that, by introducing us to an even more obscured yet extremely pivotal character, Hannibal’s father.” Holy Melkart, does Vin intend to film Flaubert’s astonishing Salammbo? If you’ve got an update, please let Steven know! (Victor Mature played the role in the 1960 Hannibal, and Alexander Siddig starred in a 2006 BBC telemovie included as an extra in the DVD set Warriors.)

Among a spate of upcoming religious-themed movies is Nicaea, which begins with the blood-soaked triumph of the Christian emperor Constantine at the battle of the Milvian Bridge outside Rome, then proceeds to depict the intrigue and infighting at the Council of Nicaea, which established the official creed of state-sponsored Christianity (and classified dissidents as heretics). From the info to be gleaned at the movie’s official site (including an interview with hedge fund manager and producer Charles Parlato), expect a pious rendering of the story. Production is scheduled to begin in 2014.

Steven is sometimes asked: Why doesn’t Hollywood make your books into movies? Maybe it’s because they’re too busy coming up with better ideas, like…ZvG: Zombies vs. Gladiators. Yes, that’s a real project, possibly to be helmed by veteran horror writer-director Clive Barker; more info here. It’s the latest of a trend of upcoming Ancient World+monster mash-ups (see items about Gladiators vs. Werewolves and Mortis Rex elsewhere on this page). No movies about Roman sleuths in sight.
It had to happen: Gladiators v. Werewolves! Britannia, A.D. 160: When a Roman governor discovers a clan of werewolves, he decides to capture the beasts so he can show them off in the arena—but the fur flies when the werewolves strike back. Official web page is here. According to IMDb, shooting commenced in June 2012…so where is the movie? If you have more info, please let Steven know. There’s more Ancient World monster mayhem upcoming in Mortis Rex and Zombies vs. Gladiators (see items elsewhere on this page).

The Ancient World monster movie Mortis Rex (Latin for “King of the Dead”) is set in A.D. 122, as a disgraced Roman warrior, sent to defend a garrison in remote Scotland from a spate of mysterious killings, must unite with the local Druids to vanquish a terrifying supernatural beast. The project is the brainchild of Hellboy co-writer Peter Briggs. The setting (Hadrian’s Wall and beyond) is similar to 2010’s Centurion and 2011’s The Eagle; there’s more monster mayhem in Roman Britain upcoming in Gladiators v. Werewolves and more supernatural madness with Zombies vs. Gladiators (see items elsewhere on this page). Latest updates may be found at the project’s facebook page. Concept art above by Stuart Jennett.

Among the numerous Bible-inspired movies in development, this may be the most off-beat: Unholy Night, based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, who previously gave us Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter and Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. In this take on the Nativity, the Three Wise Men turn out to be professional killers who deliver lots of Hollywood-style blood and gore to liven up the otherwise ho-hum tale of Jesus’ birth. To get an idea of what the movie might look like, check out this animated book trailer.

The Northern Mist is a graphic novel/movie project from writer Patrick O'Brien and Cohort Pictures. In the misty north of England, Roman soldiers battle savage Britons and Picts, as well as an enemy they’ve never encountered before. The horror/action project joins other movies in the works with a supernatural theme set in Roman Briton, including Mortis Rex, Gladiators v. Werewolves, and Zombies vs. Gladiators (see items elsewhere on this page.) Illustration above: “Early stage pencil drawing of Legionnaire Dax. Doing what he does best.” You can keep abreast of progress at the project’s facebook page.

No, not a new movie…but probably soon to be one: Shadow Legion, a 4-part graphic novel from Amigo Comics in which Romans battle monsters, promised for 2013. It’s part of a Roman horror trend exemplified by movie projects like ZvG: Zombies vs. Gladiators (see items elsewhere on this page). Love the cover art by Enrique Lorenzana.

Angelina Jolie as Cleopatra? Producer Scott Rudin (Oscar winner for No Country for Old Men) bought the screen rights to Pultizer Prize-winning biographer Stacy Schiff”s bestseller Cleopatra: A Life and hinted at a movie project to be developed for and with Jolie.

Back in 2012, a story in the New York Times discussed plans for a new TV version of I, Claudius (based on the novel by Robert Graves) with HBO and BBC2 collaborating “to remake the mini-series, with the creative team that produced the HBO series Rome in charge.” (Derek Jacobi catapulted to stardom as the stuttering emperor in the 1976 BBC miniseries; picture at right.) Got an update? Please let Steven know!
A rumor has Brad Pitt taking the title role in Pontius Pilate and playing the Roman governor of Judea who sat in judgment on Jesus,Read a description of the screenplay and an interview with writer Vera Blasi here. If you have more info, please let Steven know! (Photo by Sam Taylor-Wood)
Gianni Nunnari, producer of Alexander, 300, and Immortals, has more irons in the Ancient World fire. Nunnari is working on a movie about the young Julius Caesar based on Conn Iggulden’s Emperor novel series, and Odysseus, an epic costumer based on Homer’s The Oddysey to be helmed by Russian director Fedor Bondarchuk. If you have updates on any of these projects, please let Steven know!

A few years ago the Web buzzed with news that Catherine Zeta-Jones would play Cleopatra in a 3-D musical, Cleo, to be directed by Steven Soderbergh. Although the story has been oft-filmed (most famously with the 1963 Cleopatra with Elizabeth Taylor in the title role), this Cleo would be Hollywood’s first musical based on the star-crossed lovers—and transposed to 1920s America, with songs by the group Guided by Voices. (No buzz about this project in a long time. Has it been shelved? If you have info, please let Steven know!)

For years, the grapevine buzzed about John Boorman’s ambition to film Marguerite Yourcenar’s classic novel Memoirs of Hadrian. The last round of rumors posited 007 star Daniel Craig as Hadrian; no word on who might play Antinous, the young lover deified by the emperor after drowning in the Nile. For the ultimate in Antinous worship, visit The Sacred Antinous. To see videos about Hadrian by the British Museum, click here. Got an update? Please let Steven know!

Young Alexander the Great, about the conqueror’s teenaged years (think “Alexander 90210”), stars Sam Heughan (right) as Alexander and Paul Telfer (of Hercules and Spartacus) as Hephaestion. This movie has been in the can since 2007. If you have more info, please let Steven know! Meanwhile, you can watch a rare German commercial featuring a young, sword-wielding Paul Telfer—see image at left—at this page. (You must be a registed adult at Dailymotion to view this video.)
Spanish auteur Julio Medem (Sex and Lucía) may direct Pericles and Aspasia, an English-language film based on one of antiquity’s great love stories, between the 50-year-old Pericles, ruler of Athens in its fifth century B.C. heyday, and the 24-year-old Aspasia, a free-thinking, sexually liberated beauty who was also a skilled rhetorician. There’s been zero buzz about this project for a while; if you have more info, please let Steven know! (And has anyone out there read the recent novel by Karen Essex about Aspasia, Stealing Athena?)

Coming down the chimney one of these years? Nicholas of Myra is about the original St. Nick. No, Virginia, not Santa Claus, but his ancient prototype who attended the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325, shortly after Constantine the Great made Christianity the state religion of the Roman Empire. This independent feature, clearly a labor of love, has been in production for years, with a lavish web site. But where is the movie? If you have any release info, please let Steven know!

Will there be a feature film follow-up to the TV series Rome? Executive producer and scripter Bruno Heller has such a project in development with the working title Bona Dea. The story broke here. Actor Kevin McKidd (Vorenus) affirmed that Heller was still working on the script as of late 2010.
Way back in March, 2009, the web buzzed with talk that Scarlett Johansson would star in The Amazon Warrior, the tale of a gladiatrix who exacts vengeance on the army that destroyed her homeland, circa 200 B.C., with a screenplay by the team of Dirk Blackman and Howard McCain (scripters for Outlander and Underworld: Rise of the Lycans). Since then, Scarlett grew up and became an Avenger! Got an update? Please let Steven know!
When in Rome...check out 3D Rewind Rome, playing in a theater near the Colosseum. The 30-minute virtual-reality guided tour of the city circa A.D. 310 includes a walk through the teeming Subura, a forbidden peek at the Vestals in their temple, and a gladiator combat with the emperor Maxentius presiding. Watch a trailer on YouTube.

Gertrude Stein Matisse Picasso SFMOMA modern art
From the introduction to Seneca: Four Tragedies and Octavia, by E. F. Watling:

Cicero, at the festival celebrating the opening of Rome’s first permanent theatre, complained of the pathetic performances of old-fashioned actors past their prime, and of the spectacular ostentation which had been imposed on the old tragedies: “Who wants to see six hundred mules in Clytaemnestra or three hundred goblets in The Trojan Horse, or a battle between fully equipped armies of horse and foot?”

What would Cicero have made of 300?

From Achilles to Zeus: Stephen Moss, film writer for The Guardian, offers an A-Z guide to Ancient World movies. His spot-on entry for the letter S: “Slaves: Notable by their absence in films about Sparta, even though they were the bedrock of Spartan society. Presumably acknowledgment of Sparta’s large slave population would sit oddly with a portrayal of a heroic society that valued freedom...” Click here to read the entire alphabet.

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But wait—there’s more!

Steven’s International Online Ancient World Film Festival
Watch this collection of mini-movies right here, right now!

Steven’s Wish List
Will we ever see these legendary
movies and TV shows?
Where Are
the Euro Movies?

Movies and TV shows from England & Europe, never shown in the US.


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