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WB buys pitch based on Reddit thread: Hollywood here we come?

By / 10.17.11

I’d like to think a few good movie ideas started right here in the FilmDrunk comments section. There was the Atari trilogy. There was the time I used a Family Circus movie as an example of the dumbest thing I could think of, only to see it get optioned for seven figures two years later. A similar thing happened with me describing Never Back Down as “MMA saves the rec center,” only to see Kevin James later star in a movie where he literally uses MMA to save the rec center.

But I get it, Hollywood. You like Reddit more. (*cries in the corner*)

[from Variety]
Warner Bros. has preemptively purchased the high-concept pitch “Rome, Sweet Rome” from first-time scribe James Erwin, an author and two-time “Jeopardy!” champion from Des Moines, Iowa.
Erwin’s pitch sale came about as a result of several postings on the website Reddit.com, an online community and social news aggregator where users vote to determine which posts land on the site’s home page.
Erwin set out to answer the question: “What if a unit of current U.S. Marines are suddenly transported back to ancient Rome and forced to do battle with the Roman legions?” Pic will follow the Marines as they’re flung into the past where they encounter one of the world’s most legendary villains and disrupt history. To return home, they have to set history back on the track they altered.
Madhouse Entertainment’s Adam Kolbrenner spotted Erwin’s “Rome, Sweet Rome” posts once they reached the top of Reddit and moved quickly to contact the writer and begin working with him to develop the concept. When it came time to find a home for the project, Kolbrenner brought it to WB’s Chris Gary, a young exec who encouraged the studio to move aggressively to acquire it.
Erwin’s next book, due in 2012, chronicles the history of U.S. military actions.

This was the question he first posted on Reddit:

So I’ve been watching HBO’s Rome and Generation Kill simultaneously and it’s lead me to fantasize about traveling back in time with modern troops and equipment to remove that self-righteous little twat Octavian (Augustus) from power.
Let’s say we go back in time with a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), since the numbers of members and equipment is listed for our convenience in this Wikipedia article, could we destroy all 30 of Augustus’ legions?
We’d be up against nearly 330,000 men since each legion was comprised of 11,000 men. These men are typically equipped with limb and torso armor made of metal, and for weaponry they carry swords, spears, bows and other stabbing implements. We’d also encounter siege weapons like catapults and crude incendiary weapons.
We’d be made up of about 2000 members, of which about half would be participating in ground attack operations. We can use our four Abrams M1A1 tanks, our artillery and mechanized vehicles (60 Humvees, 16 armored vehicles, etc), but we cannot use our attack air support, only our transport aircraft. [Reddit]

So it’s basically a nerdier version (less nerdy version?) of “Do you guys think Mighty Mouse could take Batman?”

Though I don’t necessarily mean that as a criticism. I loved Rome and Generation Kill. If they shot it without shaky cam or Paul Walker I could see it being pretty righteous. At the very least, films based on comment threads beat films based on board games hands down.

As for us, maybe I’ll start trying to throw out movie ideas that I think are good. The next thing we’re going to need is a cat who can really act.


TAGSJAMES ERWINPITCHESREDDITROME SWEET ROME

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