Beloved filmmaker Martin Scorsese doesn’t seem to be resting on his laurels as he approaches the sixth decade career of his career, recently making waves for taking his much-hyped “The Irishman” to Netflix, and now reportedly returning to the small screen for a long-time passion project. The Guardian reports that Scorsese has teamed up with screenwriter Michael Hirst — the creator of series like “Vikings” and “The Tudors,” though he also wrote the big screen scripts for “Elizabeth” and “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” — for a lavish new television series about the Roman Empire.
The new series will reportedly “tell the story of the early rulers of ancient Rome, beginning with the rise to power of Julius Caesar.” The series’ pilot has already been written, along with an outline for a full first season. Per The Guardian, “the plan is to create a television drama, several seasons long.”
The screenwriter added that the new series will focus on a younger Julius Caesar than we usually see in cinematic projects. “In the movies he’s usually a middle-aged guy, struggling with political complexities,” Hirst said. “But he was fantastically interesting and ambitious when he was younger. A lot of the Caesars came to power when they were young, and we’ve never really seen that on screen. It’s the energy, the vitality, the excess of a young culture that’s being driven by young people.”
He added, “There is something astonishing about the rise of a relatively small kingdom to world power within a very short space of time. It couldn’t have been done by tired old politicos and faded warriors.”
The project has reportedly been a long-time passion project for Scorsese, and Hirst said the filmmaker is “totally passionate about the Romans” and has been “desperate” for many years to make a project centered on them. Hirst added, “He genuinely loves the period and knows a lot about it. He got on the phone to Justin Pollard, my historical adviser. They chatted, partly in Latin, about sources for the stories and Roman poetry.”
While Hirst is also a history obsessive, his series have always spun off of reported history to have a more loose approach to fact-based happenings. That will continue in “The Caesars.”
“Just like Shakespeare’s history plays, they only start with some historical facts, then the drama takes over. You can’t have both,” Hirst said of his shows. “Even contemporary accounts aren’t accurate. If you and I saw the same event, we would report them differently. Every account is partial. There is no pure history.”
Although casting announcements for the project have yet to be made, Hirst seems eager to snag some of the top-tier talent that Scorsese typically works with. He told The Guardian, “One of the benefits of working with [Scorsese] is that actors want to work with him. We’ll be casting a lot of young actors.” Filming is expected to begin next year in Italy.