By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood June 5, 2012 at 2:50PM
Heading toward mainstream film production where genre reigns supreme, Amazon Studios has hired "Hellraiser" creator Clive Barker to rewrite "Zombies vs. Gladiators." Let's hope it turns out better than "Cowboys and Aliens."
The project set in ancient Rome has spurred enormous fan support online at Amazon Studios' website. This marks the first time Amazon Studios director Roy Price has brought in an established writer to "develop" a project. “'Zombies vs. Gladiators' is now in the hands of someone who has written genre-defining material throughout his career,” said Price, who has yet to push one of his projects through at Warner Bros, which has a first-look deal with Amazon Studios, or any other studio. Amazon Studios recently branched into TV development as well.
While the popularity of AMC's "The Walking Dead" continues unabated and Brad Pitt is starring in Marc Forster's upcoming zombie epic "World War Z" (which is undergoing seven weeks of reshoots), "Zombies vs. Gladiators" features a shaman who faces death in the Coliseum and casts a spell that springs the first zombies on the world. A gladiator must stop the zombies and save Rome.
Said fantasist Barker, who is also a painter, playwright and poet: “I’m excited by the opportunity to interweave two very rich narrative threads. One of them concerns itself with the reality of the decadence of Rome and its rise and fall. The other is a fantastical narrative element - the living dead. My brief to myself on this project is to give the audience not only zombies they have never seen before but also a Rome they have never seen before.”