pompeii-ridley-scott

A few years back, Roman Polanski and Robert Harris spent a lot of time developing Pompeii, which would have seen Polanski directing a script by both men based on Harris’ historical novel about the days leading to the ancient volcanic disaster. That film fell apart when the Screen Actors Guild threatened to strike — either because of possibility of the strike or other internal pressures or, most likely, a combination of both.

Now there is a new version being prepared, which Ridley Scott has just joined as a producer.

As The Wrap describes, Pompeii “is a thriller about the race to survive the looming disaster of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in ancient Italy.”

What we don’t know is whether this will use any of the same script that had been developed for Polanski’s version. Obviously, given that this is a four-hour mini-series development, the exact script could not be used, but this take might be based on that prior draft. In general, that possibility is probably remote.

Harris just told CHUD a month ago that his version was completely dead, with no chance of revival. He was talking about the iteration of the project featuring both he and Polanski, but it is interesting that Harris didn’t give any inking that there might be an alternate future for the film.

For his part, Scott supplied a quote describing his interest:

The creation of worlds – specifically those historical worlds which continue to capture the popular imagination – is what we love to do and do best. ‘Pompeii’ is a strong and compelling character drama set against a backdrop of a flourishing but ultimately doomed civilization – exactly what makes great event television.

Meanwhile, Helen Verno, head of movies and minis for co-financier Sony Pictures Television, says:

The story unfolds as both a love story and a thriller, with the historical, apocalyptic backdrop of a city on the precipice of destruction and characters who are totally relatable to a contemporary audience.

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