Rome: The Movie?

If Bruno Heller has his way, Rome will rise again — in theaters. The creator of CBS’ The Mentalist (you know, that show that rips off the USA Network’s Psych, only with prettier people?) is talking about a feature film version of his critically acclaimed HBO series Rome, which was canceled after two seasons despite excellent ratings. The HBO-BBC co-production, as the name implies, dealt with the Roman empire back in the day when togas were still cool and not purely the property of drunken frat douche bags. The show also launched the Hollywood careers of Kevin McKidd (who fronted the canceled Journeyman) and Ray Stevenson, who is currently punishing bad guys in latest “Punisher” reboot movie.

Here’s what Heller had to say about a movie version of Rome:

“There is talk of doing a movie version,” he said. “It’s moving along. It’s not there until it is there. I would love to round that show off.”

Heller would not discuss plot ideas, but the original series outline for “Rome” next called for the hedonistic Roman leaders to deal with the rise of a certain problematic rabbi — a story line that would have put a whole new spin on the Greatest Story Ever Told and potentially bring “Rome” a larger audience.

“I discovered halfway through writing the second season the show was going to end,” Heller said. “The second was going to end with death of Brutus. Third and fourth season would be set in Egypt. Fifth was going to be the rise of the messiah in Palestine. But because we got the heads-up that the second season would be it, I telescoped the third and fourth season into the second one, which accounts for the blazing speed we go through history near the end. There’s certainly more than enough history to go around.”

Never got into Rome myself. My interest lies more in the pre-Rome days, with the Greeks. As I hear it, Rome the TV show was pretty bloody and nudity-filled, kinda like HBO’s other TV show, you know, the one with the hags having sex in the city or something.

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