×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Warners nabs ‘Rome, Sweet Rome’

Two-time 'Jeopardy!' champion sells high-concept project

Here’s one way to make it as a screenwriter: apply online.

Warner Bros. has preemptively purchased the high-concept pitch “Rome, Sweet Rome” from first-time scribe James Erwin, an author and two-time “Jeopardy!” champion from Des Moines, Iowa.

Erwin’s pitch sale came about as a result of several postings on the website Reddit.com, an online community and social news aggregator where users vote to determine which posts land on the site’s home page.

Erwin set out to answer the question: “What if a unit of current U.S. Marines are suddenly transported back to ancient Rome and forced to do battle with the Roman legions?” Pic will follow the Marines as they’re flung into the past where they encounter one of the world’s most legendary villains and disrupt history. To return home, they have to set history back on the track they altered.

Madhouse Entertainment’s Adam Kolbrenner spotted Erwin’s “Rome, Sweet Rome” posts once they reached the top of Reddit and moved quickly to contact the writer and begin working with him to develop the concept. When it came time to find a home for the project, Kolbrenner brought it to WB’s Chris Gary, a young exec who encouraged the studio to move aggressively to acquire it.

Kolbrenner will produce with Gianni Nunnari (“Immortals”) of Hollywood Gang, where John Ridley will oversee the project for the company. Madhouse’s Robyn Meisinger will exec produce and Gary will shepherd the project for Warners.

Erwin’s next book, due in 2012, chronicles the history of U.S. military actions. He’s repped by Madhouse Entertainment and attorney Bruce Gellman.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Reese Witherspoon Kerry Washington Ryan Reynolds

    Market for Package Deals and Original Ideas Heats Up Ahead of Platform Launches

    Practically every studio in town wanted it, but in the end it was Apple that swept in to nab the reinterpretation of “A Christmas Carol” with Will Ferrell and Ryan Reynolds. To buy the highly coveted package, the tech giant was willing to shell out more than $60 million to the stars and the film’s [...]

  • Ruben Fleischer

    Ruben Fleischer Returns to His Roots for 'Zombieland: Double Tap'

    Recapturing the personality of a successful film for its follow-up can be a challenging task for a filmmaker, given the story told, characters involved and especially the time passed between installments. But even after 10 years, “Zombieland: Double Tap” director Ruben Fleischer knew exactly what to focus on to ensure that his sequel lived up [...]

  • Maleficent

    How 'Maleficent' Sequel's Characters Drove Costumes and Special Effects Makeup

    The art of making sequels demands a fine balance between revisiting an existing world and giving the audience something new to chew on. For Disney’s “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil,” costume designer Ellen Mirojnick and special effects makeup designer David White started with the familiar and built things out from there. “This movie is a fantastic [...]

  • Michael Caine poses for a portrait

    Michael Caine, Lena Headey to Star in Modern-Day Version of 'Oliver Twist'

    Michael Caine, Lena Headey and pop star Rita Ora are to star in “Twist,” a modern-day, gender-bending film interpretation of Charles Dickens’ classic novel “Oliver Twist” for Sky, which will release the film day and date in theaters and on its pay-TV platform. The title role of Oliver is played by Jude Law’s son Raff [...]

  • Lucia Milazzotto

    Rome MIA Director Lucia Milazzotto Talks Linear TV and Theatrical Comeback

    MIA market director Lucia Milazzotto is the main architect of Rome’s new format post-Mipcom, pre-AFM confab launched five years ago to serve as a driver for the Italian industry in the global arena. The MIA acronym stands for (Mercato Internazionale Audiovisivo, or International Audiovisual Market). Milazzotto spoke to Variety about how this unique event featuring [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content