The longer Richard Armitage makes me wait to hear what his next project will, the less able I am to resist indulging in wild flights of fancy on the subject. People have been throwing about all sorts of roles that Richard Armitage is rumored to be contender for, or that they would love to see him do…from comic book heroes to a charming, gentlemanly vampire (?) and more. I thought that I might as well throw my hat into the ring with some ancient world possibilities.
The solid commercial (if not always critical) success of projects like Gladiator, Troy, Rome and Spartacus in the past 15 years, in addition to the plethora of “sword and sandal” epics in the fifties and sixties, lends credence to the notion that films and television series set in the ancient world have wide popular appeal. This week I was idly wondering what roles from the ancient world I’d like to see my fave appear in, which led me to taking a look around to see what stories are in the works. A few mouse clicks, and what do I find but a section on the novelist Steven Saylor’s website that talks about the very thing. Trawling around there, this caught my eye…
I was happily contemplating Richard Armitage as Moses going to to toe with, an as yet uncast, Ramses, wooing Nefertari, rescuing the daughters of Jethro, burning bushes, Plagues of Egypt, Exo….wait a minute – what’s that?
It was great while it lasted! I am not one to be defeated that easily, so my hunt continued and I saw any number of things that looked sort of interesting (and a few are actually in some degree of development). Last week Perry and I were considering a version of the Roman poet Vergil’s epic tale of Aeneas, the progenitor of the Roman race – as far as I can find, this story has never been made for film or TV. There’s been scuttlebutt for years about a feature film continuation of the HBO series Rome (please, please, please), and latent talk of a major motion picture version of Homer’s Odyssey. My favorite prospect at the moment is this one:
Remakes seem to be the name of the game these days, and this one could be great. If you’ve not seen I, Claudius, a 1976 BBC series based on the Robert Graves novel by the same name, you should. The production value is dated now, but it is a masterpiece on a number of levels…not to mention a who’s who of British stage and screen in the 1970’s. The title role of the emperor Claudius was a breakout role for Derek Jacobi – that’s Sir Derek Jacobi these days. I would be hugely interested to see what Richard Armitage would do with Claudius (or Augustus, or Tiberius, or…) Yes, it is TV, but recent HBO efforts have definitely had cinematic qualities. HBO and the BBC have partnered successfully before, and have garnered great casts in memorable roles.
It certainly is fun to consider what if, but in the land of reality, please Mr. Armitage, what’s next? I know you wouldn’t want my death on your conscience, and the suspense is KILLING me!