With savvy casting, the adventures of a young Julius Caesar are likely a box office gold mine, and Exclusive Media Group thinks Burr Steers (17 Again) is the man to helm the captain the ship. Steers has been hired to direct Emperor: Young Caesar, an adaptation of the first two novels in Conn Iggulden’s acclaimed historical fiction series that details the rise of famed Roman emperor Gaius Julius Caesar. William Broyles (Jarhead) and Stephen Harrigan (Cleopatra) penned the script, which sees Julius and Brutus (of “et tu” fame) raised to enter the Roman military.
Hit the jump for more, including a statement from Steers and speculation that a Zac Efron casting announcement may not be far behind.
Steers remarked on his attraction to the project:
“I’ve always had an interest in Julius Caesar and his formative years and am thrilled to have the opportunity to be part of this project. There has never been a film that focuses on Caesar as a young man, and Conn Iggulden, Bill Broyles and Stephen Harrigan have a completely fresh, timely, and exciting take on one of the greatest historical figures of all time. I look forward to working with Conn, Bill and Stephen, Exclusive Media, Atmosphere’s Mark Canton and Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari and Craig Flores.” [Deadline]
In the first two novels — The Gates of Rome and The Death of Kings — the character of Caesar spans the ages 8-28. Steers has worked with Zac Efron twice now, in 17 Again and the upcoming drama Charlie St. Cloud. This age range seems to be right in Efron’s wheelhouse, assuming a healthy portion of the narrative take place in the post-teenage years. I like the High School Musical actor more than the comments likely will, so I bring it up more as an interesting possibility than something to dread.
Anyway, here are synopses for The Gates of Rome and The Death of Kings:
THE GATES OF ROME
In a city of grandeur and decadence, beauty and bloodshed, two boys, best friends, dream of glory in service of the mightiest empire the world has ever known. One is the son of a senator. The other is a bastard child. As young Gaius and Marcus grow to manhood, they are trained in the art of combat—under the tutelage of one of Rome’s most fearsome gladiators. For Marcus, a bloody campaign in Greece will become a young soldier’s proving ground. For Gaius, the equally deadly infighting of the Roman Senate will be the battlefield where he hones his courage and skill. And for both, the love of an extraordinary slave girl will be an honor each will covet but only one will win. But as Rome is thrust into the grip of bitter conflict, as every Roman prepares to take sides in the coming battle, Gaius and Marcus’s friendship will be put to the ultimate test.…
THE DEATH OF KINGS
In a sparsely settled region of North Africa, a band of disheveled soldiers turn their eyes toward one man among them: their leader, Julius Caesar. The soldiers are Roman legionaries. And their quarry is a band of pirates who dared to kidnap Julius Caesar for ransom. Now, as Caesar exacts his revenge and builds a legend far from Rome, his friend Marcus Brutus is fighting battles of another sort, rising to power in the wake of the assassination of a dictator. Once Brutus and Caesar were as close as brothers, devoted to the same ideals and attracted to the same forbidden woman. Now they will be united again by a shock wave from the north, where a gladiator named Spartacus is building an army of seventy thousand slaves—to fight a cataclysmic battle against Rome itself.