Warner Brothers has purchased an alternate history screenplay written by a two-time Jeopardy! champion, which came to their attention when it went viral on the social news site Reddit. (That was the nerdiest lede of all time.) The script, Rome, Sweet Rome, is a product of this thread, which posed the question “Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU?” James Erwin, a Des Moines author, answered that intriguingly specific question with a story about Marines getting inexplicably transported back in time to…yep, Ancient Rome. Reddit users took the bait, giving the story more than 4,000 “upvotes” and creating a specific subcategory for future installments.
But Reddit users weren’t the only interested party. Madhouse Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based production company, reached out to Erwin and Warner Brothers to develop the story into a screenplay. Apparently the plot revolves around Marines trying to set history back on course, etc. It’s the standard “Gladiator meets Black Hawk Down meets Back to the Future” pitch plotline. Nothing’s been written yet, and the thing could take a million wrong turns before a frame is shot–but still, this is probably the first movie pitch that was crowdsourced before it was even written. They’ll probably want credit.
Warner nabs ‘Rome Sweet Rome’ [Variety]