Sometimes it’s easy to forget that most movies start as simple ideas, concepts in a nutshell. In the late ’80s, someone thought to themselves, “What if two stoners who never actually get stoned go back in time to kidnap historical leaders while most excellently proving that Napoleon wasn’t a pedophile?” And Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure was born.
Skip ahead 25 years or so, and from the online social juggernaut Reddit comes James Erwin, author and two-time Jeopardy champion, whose simple concept is getting a fresh re-write from Warner Bros.. The concept really seems to be ripe for new-millennium action cinema: “What if a unit of U.S. Marines were transported back in time and forced to do battle with Roman legions?” Adam Kolbrenner from Madhouse Entertainment quickly contacted Erwin, and alerted a friend at Warner Bros. to snatch it up.
Erwin’s own first draft of the screenplay has been scrapped entirely, it seems, as Brian Miller has been brought in to do a draft from scratch. For those of you who don’t know who Miller is, or for those of you who’d hypnotized yourselves to forget his name anytime you blink, he’s the guy who wrote 2011’s abysmal Apollo 18. A slight rewording of the pitch brings “U.S. Special Forces” traveling to the past to square off against those toga-wearing orgy-goers. From just that simple logline, there’s no telling if the sci-fi in this movie is wonky, straightforward, or nonexistent altogether. Miller has more genre stuff in the works, with a Paramount sci-fi thriller and a Sony sci-fi horror, the latter with American Horror Story‘s Ryan Murphy. If Ryan Murphy is getting into some sci-fi, you can be damned certain it won’t be as boring as Apollo 18.