Because we’re running out of comic book character stories to retell over and over, and there are only so many presidents we can bastardize with stories of supernatural terror, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood started looking at international and ancient history for new ways to tell the stories that have been told a thousand times before. Enter Mark Wahlberg, who is producing an origins story about Julius Caesar, because today’s kids need to know about how the eventual Roman emperor climbed his way to power through parkour and beatboxing.
But you can’t just up and tell an origin story these days. First, you need to compare it to another movie that was already wildly successful, and Deadline is all over that.
It’s an origin story in the vein of Batman Begins…
OF COURSE IT IS. Now please, continue.
… that envisions the future dictator as a young general in the Roman army in a rarely discussed period of his life. Kidnapped by Cilician pirates and enslaved on their prison island, Caesar escapes with his men, and the decisions he makes during this time directly affect the political and social upheaval happening in Rome. As Plutarch tells it, Caesar maintained such an air of superiority during his imprisonment that he demanded his captors more than double the ransom they had placed on his life; after he escaped, he made his way back and brutally crucified the perpetrators as he’d vowed he would. Upon his return to Rome, Caesar powered into politics on his way toward ruling the empire.
The real measure of this movie’s success – once it has a director and stars and is actually made, obviously – will be how often American high school students write about it while pretending that they read a book. Teachers will be able to tell by how many times a student claims, “Lil cesar had mad ripped abs, yo, n some shitty pizza 2 boot. but crazy bred b da bomb, son.”