Mark Wahlberg Producing The Roman

It's Julius Caesar: The Early Years

He isn't doing a Brando and donning the laurel wreath himself (not yet anyway), but Mark Wahlberg, along with producing partner Stephen Levinson, has just thrown his weight behind The Roman. The epic-sounding historical drama will chart the early adventures of Julius Caesar.

The screenplay, by Travis Baker and Richard Tanne, apparently covers an episode in Caesar's early twenties. After his high-profile first military stint and in the early days of his career as a legal advocate, he was kidnapped by pirates on a voyage across the Aegean. He didn't give them an easy time. While a captive, he demanded that the pirates significantly up their ransom, deeming himself more valuable than their original demand. Then, once the ransom was paid and he was free again, he raised a fleet to track the pirates down, and had them crucified. That told 'em.

Obviously there's plenty more drama in Caesar's early life, like his clash with family and political rival Lucius Cornelius Sulla (a feud that forced Caesar out of Rome and into the army) and the military campaigns for which he was first garlanded. A lot went on before he became the older Caesar of Shakespeare and Asterix fame. Deadline likens the potential film to an origin story along Batman Begins lines, only with a legendary military tactitian and politician and dictator, rather than a vigilante in a cape. Actually, there was probably a cape.

Baker and Tanne are the guys behind the online movie talk show Cinema Cool and the recent indie horror Mischief Night, so a project of this apparent scale is a significant step up for them. the next job is to find a director, after which Wahlberg and his cohorts will be shopping the project to studios. Should they bite, said studios will then be looking for a star...