Heller Still Hoping For Rome: The Movie

Big-screen version of the BBC series?

Rome, the HBO/BBC co-production that brought lavish production values, lashings of gore and steaming great big piles of rutting flesh to the tale of the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, was cancelled a couple of years ago, after just two acclaimed series.

But now creator Bruno Heller says that he hopes to wrap up the show, which ended rather abruptly by skipping through decades like a history teacher trying to beat the bell, properly. Which means a big-screen version. Perhaps with added Jesus.

To which we say: about bloody time.

"There is talk of doing a movie version," Heller told The Hollywood Reporter. "It's moving along. It's not there until it is there. I would love to round that show off."

It’s all very early days yet – no studio is yet attached. But Heller is currently hot property at the moment, as his new show, the wonderfully-named The Mentalist (conjures up Partridge images every time we write that), is just about the only new show in the States that hasn’t been cancelled or downsized or revamped in some way.

Then, of course, there’s the thorny issue of plotting, but divine intervention might be at hand. "I discovered halfway through writing the second season the show was going to end," added Heller. "The second was going to end with the death of Brutus. Third and fourth season would be set in Egypt. Fifth was going to be the rise of the messiah in Palestine.

“But because we got the heads-up that the second season would be it, I telescoped the third and fourth season into the second one. There's certainly more than enough history to go around."

It’s the mention of the Messiah that intrigues us. Could Jesus be introduced into the action? And what of the Rome regulars, most of whom now have lives and careers because of that show? We’re talking people like Kevin McKidd, so good as Lucius Vorenus, yet now ploughing a furrow in Grey’s Anatomy, or Ray Stevenson, mesmerising as Titus Pullo and now the new Punisher. Presumably they’d love to appear in a Rome movie (and, as Heller himself points out, McKidd’s Lucius didn’t die onscreen, so could come back perfectly legitimately), scheduling conflicts aside.

Given that the Rome sets were destroyed, a movie on a large scale would be a more realistic proposition than the Beeb and HBO commissioning a third series. So, do you think that this is a good idea? Vent your spleens below.