By Anne Thompson and Beth Hanna | Thompson on Hollywood February 7, 2014 at 2:15PM
The success of "Gladiator," "300" and HBO's "Rome" and "Game of Thrones" made sword and sandal pictures acceptable again. (Maybe producers should remember "The Immortals," "Alexander," "Prince of Persia," "Troy" and "Clash of the Titans.") A full trailer has arrived for Paul W.S. Anderson's 3-D Roman disaster movie "Pompeii" (February 21) one of the many Sword and Sandal items coming to theaters this year. The film stars "Game of Thrones" hunk Kit Harington, Emily Browning and Keifer Sutherland as the film's resident baddie (no, he's not playing Mount Vesuvius). Watch below.
"Pompeii" is set in 79 A.D., days before the infamous volcanic eruption that would level the eponymous city. Sutherland plays a Roman senator who enslaves a village, and forces a local woman (Browning) to marry him, despite her being in love with a fellow slave (Harington). Jared Harris (dearly departed Lane Pryce of "Mad Men") will play Harington's master. Anderson's last film, "Resident Evil: Retribution," had its champions, and even sparked a critical debate over whether it was better than Paul Thomas Anderson's "The Master," released the same weekend last fall.
Meanwhile, rookie feature filmmaker Noam Murro's "300: Rise of an Empire" is still charging ahead toward its March 7 release. The "300" sidequel (as one pundit described it), which reprises Rodrigo Santoro as Frank Miller's Xerxes, was pushed back from its original August 2 release date.
One of the two "Hercules" ("The Legend of") died upon its January 17 bow, with not so Herculean box office returns, while MGM/Paramount also pushed back Brett Ratner's production of "Hercules," starring ubiquitous and Herculean-proportioned Dwayne Johnson in the title role, from February to July 25, 2014. Ian McShane, Joseph Fiennes, Rufus Sewell, Rebecca Ferguson ("The White Queen"), Aksel Hennie ("Headhunters") and John Hurt also star in the film which was shot on location in Budapest, Hungary.
Adapted by Ryan Condal and Evan Spiliotopoulos from Radical Studio’s graphic novel “Hercules: The Thracian Wars,” the film is set in a revisionist grounded world without any Greek Gods. Producers are Beau Flynn, Barry Levine and Ratner; executive producers are Peter Berg, Sarah Aubrey and Jesse Berger.
Sony is still promising a major "Cleopatra" starring Angelina Jolie based on Stacy Schiff's book with Scott Rudin producing; Ang Lee was at one time interested in Eric Roth's script. Maybe new Sony production president Michael De Luca can get that up and running.
No updates on whatever happened to Robert Towne-penned cable series "Pompeii.'' Now that we'd want to see.