EXCLUSIVE: Screenwriter Kurt Johnstad has covered both ancient warfare co-writing 300 and its sequel 300: Rise Of An Empire, and contemporary conflict with Act Of Valor. Now, he’s tackling a collision of completely different warriors in The Lost Legion, an epic action film he’ll write, with Dan Lin producing for Warner Bros.
The Lost Legion is about the first encounter between two of the most powerful forces in the history of civilization, the Roman Empire and the Han Dynasty of ancient China. In 53 BC, a Roman legion was defeated in the Middle East and the surviving Roman soldiers were sold into slavery in the far east, North of China in what is now known as Mongolia. An intrepid band of Chinese warriors freed the legionnaires from captivity, and teamed up to defend China from the fiercest army in history.
Lin, who’s currently in production on the Chris Miller/Phil Lord-directed Lego, is producing and Lin Pictures’ Jon Silk, who found the project, will be executive producer along with Action Entertainment’s Chris Darling and Susan Feiles. Johnstad also scripted The Last Photograph, and he’s repped by WME, Untitled Entertainment, Parseghian-Planco and Sloane, Offer, Weber and Dern.
Lost Legion might seem like a mash-up, but it’s based on recent discoveries that indicate this actually happened. Archaeologists in Gansu province on the Chinese-Mongolian border, in one small village, found evidence of Han Dynasty artifacts dating back to 50 B.C., mixed in with ancient Roman architecture. Some of the town’s inhabitants, while Chinese, possess fair complexions, high-bridged noses, deep-set blue eyes and curly, fair hair. The town is called Lee-Chien, and has been for 2000 years, but the townspeople pronounce it “legion”. Many in the town are convinced they have Roman blood in their veins, and DNA tests support that theory, along with historical artifacts and documentation.