July 29, 2008

John Boorman to Direct Hadrian Epic

British filmmaker John Boorman reportedly is co-writing the script for and plans to direct a movie about the Roman Emperor Hadrian.

One of Hadrian's claims to fame was that he built a wall to separate England and Scotland. The emperor, who ruled the Roman Empire from 117 to 138 A.D., was the subject of a recent popular exhibit at the British Museum, as well as Marguerite Yourcenar's novel, Memoirs of Hadrian.

Variety.com said the British production company Handmade Films has signed on to fully finance the film, which has a budget of between $50 million and $60 million.

Rome's Olympus Films is to co-produce the epic.

The lead role has not yet been cast for the film, which Boorman is to start shooting in Morocco, Rome and Spain next spring, the entertainment industry trade newspaper said.

The project says so much about the nature of empire, leadership and human aspiration, Boorman told Daily Variety. The time of Hadrian marked both the height of the Roman empire and the beginning of its decline. It's the irony of his rule.

Boorman's previous films include Excalibur, Deliverance, The Emerald Forest and The General.