EXCLUSIVE: Warner Bros is acquiring a pitch for an epic-sized telling of the story of general and Roman leader Gaius Julius Caesar that will be written by Chris Boal and directed by Jonathan Liebesman. The film will be produced by Basil Iwanyk and his Warner Bros-based Thunder Road banner. I’m told that it’s an original pitch that is not a biopic as much a Patton-like approach that covers the time in which Caesar was sent to Spain on a detail no one else wanted. There, he built the 10th Legion fighting force that would eventually march on Rome, overrun the forces of his close friend-turned-rival Pompey, and establish Caesar as the unrivaled ruler of the empire. The idea is to create a sweeping drama with a big movie star part, and the pitch came with some of the action scenes choreographed. The film would end with his coronation but leaves open the prospect of a second film that chronicled his trip to Egypt and eventual assassination. Iwanyk will produce with Liebesman, with David Gardner exec producing.
Liebesman, whose Battle: Los Angeles was just released on DVD, re-teams with Iwanyk just as they wrapped Clash of the Titans 2 for Warner Bros this week. The project comes from an idea that Liebesman and Iwanyk worked on with Boal while making the Clash sequel that stars Sam Worthington, Ralph Fiennes and Liam Neeson.
Boal is the brother of Oscar-winning The Hurt Locker scribe Mark Boal, and he has become a writer with heat because of his play 23 Knives. That drama focuses on the autopsy of Caesar after he was done in by his colleagues on the floor of the Roman Senate. The play is unrelated to the movie, but clearly Boal has the Caesar story down cold. There have been numerous movies and miniseries based on segments of Caesar’s storied life, notably including the first season of the HBO series Rome. The other significant Caesar project in the works is one that William Broyles is scripting, based on Conn Iggulden’s novel trilogy that covered the formative years of Gaius Julius Caesar. CAA reps both Liebesman and Boal. Liebesman is managed by Principato-Young and Boal by Madhouse Entertainment.