Back to IndieWire

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

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

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: News and tagged , ,



This is also the premise of "Pax Romana", a comic book series published by Image Comics in 2007-2008 and written by Jonathan Hickman, who now writes Fantastic Four and The Avengers for Marvel Comics.


I get all my best ideas for Reddit. I like this guy. We have so much in common!


The movie is called G.I. Samurai (Sengoku jieitai) and it stars the wonderful Sonny Chiba who plays Yoshiaki Iba, a Japanese Lt that travels back in time with his squadron of Japanese Self-Defense Force soldiers. There, they battle with warring samurai clans using the modern weaponry that the Self Defense Forces traveled back in time with. The film concludes with one of the greatest (and longest) battles in cinematic history, pitting Samurai vs Soldier. This film came out in 1979. Nice try, Reddit.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *