Hot off the presses, via a press release received from the History channel, the network is developing a Hannibal miniseries co-produced by A+E Studios and Red Arrow Entertainment with Halle Berry executive producing and writer Jeffrey Caine (The Constant Gardener, Goldeneye) penning the script.
Dirk Hoogstra, Executive Vice President and General Manager, History & H2, made the announcement today.
The miniseries will tell the story of the greatest generals in antiquity – Hannibal Barca and his archrival Scipio Africanus – who went head-to-head in the Second Punic War.
The miniseries will begin in Carthage, 264 BC, at the beginning of Hannibal’s life in North Africa, and will take viewers through the Second Punic War between Carthage and Rome. In what became legend, Hannibal and his archrival Scipio Africanus took a sacred vow to destroy the other, and the nation he served. However, despite their fiercely opposed allegiances, the two eventually came to grow to respect each other as brothers.
“Hannibal was not only the greatest African general to ever live,” said Halle Berry, “he may have been the greatest general, period. His story is an intricate and captivating ride and I’m thrilled to get this project off the ground with our partners at History.”
This project has no connection to the Vin Diesel Hannibal feature film trilogy (which we’ve been following for about 4 years now). Last we wrote about that project over the summer, Diesel promised that it’s definitely not dead, and is still very much in motion. He added that he’s just taking his time with it, so that he can get it right. And I certainly can’t be critical of that! I think we all want a great Hannibal film franchise.
Last year, Diesel shared, with excitement on his Facebook fan page, that he’d found a studio interested in the project on the Carthaginian general who led an army, complete with war elephants, across the Alps, to battle Rome in the Second Punic war (his father Hamilcar Barca was the leading Carthaginian commander during the First Punic War).
Denzel Washington, at one time, before Diesel, was interested in the role. But it’s Diesel’s now; although Vin previously shared that he’d met with late director Tony Scott, who was apparently interested in helming the trilogy, with Scott adding that he would get Denzel Washington to play Hamilcar, Hannibal’s father.
As we know, Tony Scott passed away last year. No word on what other directors Diesel might be talking to for the job now. Although he also revealed earlier this year that he’d sought Steven Spielberg’s creative counsel.
But if (or maybe I should say when) this trilogy happens, it’ll be a big deal. And if Diesel is able to bring Denzel on-board to play his father, and load up the cast with other notables, as well as a top director, it’ll definitely be a project that’ll demand attention, so stay tuned.
Today’s news of a TV miniseries could spark further movement on the film trilogy. Although no ETA on when we can expect the History channel project to debut.
Kudos to Halle Berry though for getting behind the project. No word on whether she plans to take a role in it as well. Of course, how the series will depict Hannibal (in terms of ethnicity) will likely be a hotly-contested issue. The Carthaginian Empire rested on the tip of North Africa during those years in history.
Diesel posted the above image on his Facebook fan page last year, seemingly pointing out the fact that it’s his “Dream” project.