Good news, people. Two of the finest people working in their respective domains, Martin Scorsese and Michael Hirst, are teaming up for an epic take on the ancient Romans. Michael Hirst is an English screenwriter and producer who has many medieval themed TV shows in his credits. He currently runs Vikings, an acclaimed historical fiction drama that chronicles the rise of the Danish chieftain Ragnar Lothbrok in the early days of the Viking Age. Hirst’s shows, that also included The Tudors, are known for their grittiness and realism. Martin Scorsese, on the other hand, is a well-known auteur who makes crime dramas and thrillers.
The project is titled The Caesars and will dramatise the story of early Roman rulers. According to The Guardian, the show will begin with the rise of the power of one the greatest Roman generals, Julius Caesar. The pilot has been written, plus the outline for the rest of the season. The plan is to create a television drama, several seasons long. Filming is expected to begin next year in Italy, the newspaper reported.
Both Hirst and Scorsese are connoisseurs of ancient Rome. Hirst said about Scorsese, “He genuinely loves the period and knows a lot about it. He got on the phone to Justin Pollard, my historical adviser. They chatted, partly in Latin, about sources for the stories and Roman poetry.”
This is stellar news. But we already have a stunningly beautiful and pretty definitive take on Rome: HBO’s Rome. It would have to do something really different to be able to stand up to the iconic series starring Ciarán Hinds. Hirst said the show would portray a younger Caesar, “In the movies he’s usually a middle-aged guy, struggling with political complexities. But he was fantastically interesting and ambitious when he was younger. A lot of the Caesars came to power when they were young, and we’ve never really seen that on screen. It’s the energy, the vitality, the excess of a young culture that’s being driven by young people. There is something astonishing about the rise of a relatively small kingdom to world power within a very short space of time. It couldn’t have been done by tired old politicos and faded warriors.”