Hannibal Flick Update

Vin Diesel’s Fast and the Furious is getting a pile of reviews right now … at the end of the one in the LA Times (and probably elsewhere) we read:

And for the last six years, Diesel has remained relentlessly dedicated to bringing a biopic about the Carthaginian military commander Hannibal to the screen. Over that time, producers have balked at its initial price tag of $230 million as well as Diesel’s insistence on directing. Still, the ambiguously ethnic actor has gone as far as hiring a screenwriter to translate the script he and other writers have been working on into Punic — an ancient language that has been extinct for more than 2,000 years.

Diesel said he identified with Hannibal on several levels.

“It’s about overcoming insurmountable odds. But nothing speaks more to me than the fact that this was the first champion of multiculturalism,” he said. “Rome’s empire flourished because they were able to adopt the idea that many nationalities could coexist together. They learned that from Hannibal.”

He weighed the consequences of pursuing his dream project.

“It takes someone with enough of an ego to believe they can tell this story better than anybody else. That’s where I’m at,” Diesel said, breaking into a wide grin. “They can’t stop me. They can stomp me. Kick me when I’m down. But they won’t stop me. Cross your fingers for me, brother!”

Perhaps further evidence that the project is still going on  is word that Diesel is also developing an online video game which is clearly connected. Neoseeker reports (inter alia):

This new game — that has been in development for 2 or 3 years already, apparently — is going to be a MMO with RPG qualities, set around 200 B.C, in the Punic Wars. (Shotgun blast history lesson: the Punic Wars were a series a battles in the Mediterranean against the dominating empire of day, the Carthaginian State, against the upstart Roman Republic. Hannibal Barca was a fearsome, legendary talented Carthaginian general, raised from birth to kill Romans.)

“The reason why it’s my dream game is because it is an MMO …  where you create an avatar that lives in the reality of Hannibal Barca, the Punic Wars and life 200 B.C,” Vin Diesel said to Destructoid. “You would have avatars that you would invest [in] — it would be an RPG game — and creating that ancient world as your backdrop. Creating an ancient world that is your ‘Azeroth.’ That is probably my dream scenario,” Diesel went on to say.

From the interview, it seems that Diesel has a sincere interest and affinity for the world of the ancient West. In that period before the Roman Empire began, when the whole ‘civilization’ ball really started to roll, warfare was entering a new conceptual stage of tactics, and massive, well-equipped armies where deciding the entire course of history in the West.

It appears that Barca B.C has at least a few years of development before it will see the light of day. But it is a project the Diesel is personally motivated to see through to the end: “We all know those games take a lot of work to create, a lot of funds. We are just in the first two or three years of putting it together. It could probably take another four years before we see that game…When we talk about dream case scenarios, man, I would love to play as a Carthaginian soldier 200 years before Christ. Sailing around the Mediterranean, that’d be pretty damn cool. If you could add some historical elements to it, the better.”

So I guess all these Fast-and-Furious-type flicks are subsidizing the Hannibal one …

Lucy Lawless in Spartacus Flick?

Variety reports (inter alia):

Lucy Lawless is returning to her action-hour roots, signing on to star in the new fantasy-and-fighting series from “Xena: Warrior Princess” masterminds Rob Tapert and Sam Raimi. The previously announced project from Starz Media, “Spartacus: Blood and Sand,” will feature the New Zealand-bred thesp, who starred in “Xena” from 1995-2001, as the proprietor of a camp for gladiators.

A female lanista?

Hypatia Flick

Not sure if we’ve mentioned this Hypatia flick yet, mention of which I had misfiled quite a while ago. Agora appears to be a movie about Hypatia, set in the late 4th century A.D. and possibly portraying a Christian-inspired burning of the Library of Alexandria. There’s an official website, but all it seems to have at this point is the following trailer (albeit better quality):

Clash of the Titans Update

A few details are starting to leak out … the incipit of a piece from Reuters:

Mads Mikkelsen, Gemma Arterton and Alexa Davalos are joining the cast of “Clash of the Titans,” the Greek-god epic being directed by Louis Leterrier.

Sam Worthington stars as Perseus, who embarks on a quest to save a princess and defeat Hades, the god of hell. Matt Manfredi and Phil Hay wrote the script.

Mikkelsen is playing Draco, a skilled fighter and leader of the Praetorian Guard that accompanies Perseus.

Screenrant adds:

Arterton’s character will be “lo” a demi-goddess who Perseus falls for (although I’m guessing the romance doesn’t work out). The character is a new addition to the story and did not appear in the original film – which is a good sign (IMHO) that the filmmakers are really trying to re-imagine the entire concept of Clash of The Titans, rather than trying to re-hash the original. We’ll see how it turns out.

Personally, I think they should get rid of the Kraken … there are enough monsters in Greek mythology they could use …

Uma Medusa?

Tip o’ the pileus to Dorothy King for directing my caerulean brow towards this … there’s an interesting fantasy type movie in the works called Percy Jackson, with a definite Classical twist … here’s the brief coverage from the Telegraph:

As a teenager, Uma Thurman was cast as Venus, the goddess of love and beauty, in the film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and now, 20 years on, she has won the role of another figure from ancient mythology. It is, alas, Medusa.

The 38-year-old will play the snake-haired deity who turns mortals into stone alongside Pierce Brosnan and Sean Bean, who take on the parts of Chiron, a centaur, and Zeus, the king of the gods, in a fantasy film called Percy Jackson which will be directed by Chris Columbus.

In a departure from any recognisable Greek myth, the plot sees Poseidon’s 12-year-old half-human son Lerman embark on a quest across modern-day America to save his mother, return Zeus’s stolen lightning bolt and prevent a deadly war between the gods. So long as Mr Brosnan doesn’t start singing again, it’s okay by me.

Personally, I always envisioned Thurman as Artemisish, but that’s beside the point … check out the Entertainment Weekly coverage (mentioned below) … could be a good thing for Classics in general.