Cleopatra, Alexander, a space Odysseus and more!

The big news yesterday was that MGM is thinking of making yet another film version of Ben-Hur — and that was just one week after it was reported that Brad Pitt was thinking of starring in a movie called Pontius Pilate. But there have been a few other reports over the last few days about films in development with a Greco-Roman theme.

First, last Wednesday, the Hollywood Reporter said Ang Lee, the Oscar-winning director of Brokeback Mountain and Life of Pi, was interested in directing the Cleopatra movie that Angelina Jolie has been attached to for the past couple years.

Jolie, of course, is no stranger to the Greco-Roman world, having played Alexander the Great’s mother in that Oliver Stone movie a few years ago. And, as it happens, Variety reported yesterday that yet another film version of Alexander’s life is currently in the works; however, unlike Stone’s big-screen version, this new version will be made for television, with producer Michael Hirst (The Tudors, The Borgias, Camelot) and his colleagues envisioning a three-season run.

Meanwhile, Deadline reported yesterday that Warner Brothers has hired a new writer to work on its futuristic, outer-space adaptation of Homer’s Odyssey. Brad Pitt — him again! — was attached to this project when I last blogged it four years ago, but has since ankled it. The new writer assigned to the project is one James DiLapo.

In a slightly different vein, Variety also reported yesterday that Warner Brothers — them again! — is developing a time-travel story called Rome, Sweet Rome which would send some U.S. Special Forces back in time to do battle with Roman legions. Here’s hoping one of the American time-travelers can speak Latin.

Finally, on a more tangential note, Variety reported today that a couple of production companies are hoping to adapt Rob Liefeld’s comic book The Godyssey, which concerns “the gods of the grand pantheon, including Zeus, Buddha, Ra and Pangu, who must come together to fight a legion of fallen gods in an epic battle over mankind.” Oh, and apparently Jesus plays a part in the comic as well.

About Peter T. Chattaway

Peter T. Chattaway was the regular film critic for BC Christian News from 1992 to 2011. In addition to his film column, which won multiple awards from the Evangelical Press Association, the Canadian Church Press and the Fellowship of Christian Newspapers, his news and opinion pieces have appeared in such publications as Books & Culture, Christianity Today, Bible Review and the Vancouver Sun. He also contributed essays to the books Re-Viewing The Passion: Mel Gibson’s Film and Its Critics (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004) and Scandalizing Jesus?: Kazantzakis’s The Last Temptation of Christ Fifty Years on (Continuum, 2005).


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