Robert Towne to pen ‘Pompeii’

Novel adaptation sold to Pro7Sat.1, BSkyB

Robert Towne has been tapped to pen the adaptation of Robert Harris’ historical bestseller “Pompeii” for Sony Pictures Television.

The miniseries, which Sony is co-producing with Tandem Communications, Peace Out Prods., Dolphin Entertainment, Leder Prods. and Scott Free Television, has already sold to Germany’s ProSiebenSat.1 and BSkyB in the U.K.

Published in 2003 and translated into more than 30 languages, “Pompeii” tells the story of a young Roman engineer working on the Aqua Augusta aqueduct who finds himself struggling to survive the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius.

“All of us, I think, have fantasies about living in the past, and ‘Pompeii’ uniquely allows you to indulge that fantasy,” said Towne. “The Harris book tells a compelling story with contemporary relevance. If you want an idea of what it was like to live life back then, ‘Pompeii’ is it,” Towne said.

Exec producer Ridley Scott said Towne would “bring his trademark vision to this remarkable project. His adaptation will truly make for an astonishing television event.”

Roman Polanski nearly brought “Pompeii” to the bigscreen four years ago. He and Harris began developing an adaptation, but the filmmaker exited the project due in part to the WGA strike.

Polanski went on to direct “The Ghost Writer,” also based on a Harris novel.

“Pompeii” follows a slew of recent high-profile historical minis and TV adaptations of hit novels, including HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and “Pillars of the Earth,” as well as its upcoming sequel “World Without End,” both also co-produced by Scott Free and Tandem.

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