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The Guy Who Penned 'Apollo 18' Is Writing Time Travel Screenplay 'Rome, Sweet Rome' Based On An Idea From Reddit

The Playlist By Ken Guidry | The Playlist January 15, 2013 at 10:37AM

So let’s cut right to the chase. About a year and a half ago, James Erwin, an Iowa-based author, wrote an online science fiction story on Reddit, and it soon became very popular on the social media site. Now the story has a legit chance to become a Hollywood movie.
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James Erwin skip crop

So let’s cut right to the chase. About a year and a half ago, James Erwin, an Iowa-based author, wrote an online science fiction story on Reddit, and it soon became very popular on the social media site. Now the story has a legit chance to become a Hollywood movie.

Erwin’s story, “Rome, Sweet Rome,” was posted on Reddit over a year ago after a user on the site had proposed this random 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 didn’t simply respond to the question--instead, he wrote an entire story based around that premise, letting his imagination run wild, and continued to add to it thanks to other Reddit users’ encouragement. Eventually, producer Adam Kolbrenner of Madhouse Entertainment spotted the Reddit post, and suddenly the story was being turned into a screenplay.

Warner Bothers purchased "Rome, Sweet Rome" in October 2011, and Erwin wrote out a draft. Now WB has hired “Apollo 18” writer Brian Miller to take on the time-travel tale. WB has decided to take a fresh approach to the material, which of course could mean changing the story entirely. While this would indicate that "Rome, Sweet Rome" has still got a long way to go, the fact that WB still wants to try to take a crack at it has got to be a positive sign. Though, the fact that it's from the guy who wrote "Apollo 18" could also be a negative.

Still, it’s hard not to want to root for a guy like James Erwin, who also happens to have won on “Jeopardy." Twice. Whatever becomes of “Rome, Sweet Rome,” that it has even gotten as far as it has is a victory in itself.

This article is related to: Rome, Sweet Rome, Warner Bros. , Brian Miller


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