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HBO to remake "I, Claudius"

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#1 of 3 OFFLINE   Joseph DeMartino

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Posted June 13 2011 - 09:28 AM

HBO and the team that produced Rome are preparing to remake the classic BBC series I, Claudius for broadcast in 2013.   Here's a short blurb from today's NY Post.  And yes, that is me picking nits in the comments section.

The original series was one of the best things the BBC ever made, and featured a stellar cast including Derek Jacobi (as Claudius), Brian Blessed, George Baker, Sian Phillips, Patrick Stewart, John Rhys-Davies, and John Hurt.  With any luck they're going to mostly work from the original scripts, which were both faithful to the novels and very effective as drama.  The novels themselves were quite well-researched and faithful to the history as it was understood when Graves was writing.  (There are a lot of scholars today who dismiss the picture of Livia as a schemer and murderer since the only surviving documents that have come down to us come from sources who had every reason to show her in the worst possible light.)

Rome had a lot going for it as drama, but it was downright painful to watch for anyone who knew much about the time period.  It isn't like that actual events of the late Republic weren't dramatic and colorful enough for drama and needed to be "improved".  Omitting interesting true events just to stick in more invented soap opera has always struck me as the worst abuse of "dramatic license."  (Seriously, did the sinking of the Titanic need that hackneyed love triangle, Leo's over-acting and Kate's boobs in order to make it dramatic?  Not that I have anything against Kate's boobs.  I just think they have their time and place and the frigid North Atlantic in 1912 isn't it.)

In any case I'll be interested to see what the Rome team does with Graves and poor, stuttering Claudius.  Wonder who will be cast in the various roles?

In the meantime I think I'll fire up my DVD copy of the 1976 BBC version and revisit Livia, Augustus, Tiberius, Julia ("Is there anyone here who hasn't slept with my daughter?!"), Caligula, Nero and Claudius.



#2 of 3 OFFLINE   Matt Hough

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Posted June 13 2011 - 01:54 PM

That cast was really spectacular in its day, and while there is no shotage of outstanding actors around who could play these roles, I don't really understand the need to do it. Sure, CGI can bring us a Rome that doesn't appear to be a soundstage city, but, really, you aren't going to get any better actors, and if they're performing the SAME scripts, why do it?

#3 of 3 OFFLINE   Greg_S_H


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Posted June 13 2011 - 02:13 PM

Dang.  I was getting crossed up and thought they were redoing Caligula.  "Starring Elisha Cuthbert, Bar Refaeli and Zach Galifianaki."  Then again, I don't get the Penthouse channel. You stole the part about Titanic from my head.

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