‘Rome’ Leaps from HBO to Silver Screen
"There is talk of doing a movie version," Bruno Heller told The Hollywood Reporter about Rome. "It’s moving along. It’s not there until it is there. I would love to round that show off."
The show, which starred Kevin McKidd and Ray Stevenson, ran for just two seasons on HBO but was deemed too costly a project to continue despite reasonable ratings. The network counted the beans and effectively canceled the series before the second season could even air in spring 2007. To the premium channel’s surprise, the series earned four Emmy Awards for the first season plus seven more awards and remarkably good ratings for the second.
With HBO now admitting their mistake, Heller is at work on a feature when not working on CBS’ The Mentalist, the one sure fire ratings hit among freshman series. As for McKidd’s Lucius, who died at the end of the series, "It was very deliberate that we saw him drifting away but didn’t see him atop a funeral pyre," Heller said.
The original series bible called for the third season to feature the “hedonistic Roman leaders to deal with the rise of a certain problematic rabbi — a story line that would have put a whole new spin on the Greatest Story Ever Told and potentially bring Rome a larger audience.”
"I discovered halfway through writing the second season the show was going to end," Heller said. "The second was going to end with death of Brutus. Third and fourth season would be set in Egypt. Fifth was going to be the rise of the messiah in Palestine. But because we got the heads-up that the second season would be it, I telescoped the third and fourth season into the second one, which accounts for the blazing speed we go through history near the end. There’s certainly more than enough history to go around."
Should the movie get a green light, rounding up the cast may be tough as the lead actors have all found other work. McKidd can be found on Grey’s Anatomy with Stevenson next seen this Friday in The Punisher: War Zone and Polly Walker set for Sci Fi Channel’s Caprica.