Ridley Scott to produce Robert Harris adaptationGladiator director to produce TV version of novel Pompeii
Alison Flood

Robert Harris’s epic, bestselling story of the destruction of Pompeii is to be turned into a four-hour television mini-series by Gladiator director Ridley Scott.

Harris’s novel, Pompeii, is set in the final few days before Vesuvius erupts in 79AD. It follows the story of Marcus Attilius, a young engineer sent to repair the Aqua Augusta aqueduct, which brings water to the cities on the Bay of Naples. The author depicts Marcus and his new love Corelia’s struggle to survive the eruption of the volcano and Pompeii’s destruction. “The further he went the more clogged the road became, and the more pitiful the state of the fleeing population. Most were coated in a thick grey dust, their hair frosted,” he writes.

Scott, who will produce the mini-series, described the book as “a strong and compelling character drama set against a backdrop of a flourishing but ultimately doomed civilisation – exactly what makes great event television”. “The creation of worlds – specifically those historical worlds which continue to capture the popular imagination – is what we love to do and do best,” he added.

The series will be made in a partnership between Sony Pictures Television, Tandem Communications, Peace Out Productions and Scott’s own film and television production company Scott Free Television. Harris said there was “no film-maker in the world with a stronger track-record on bringing ancient Rome to life than Ridley Scott”.

“He is the man who reinvented the genre, and I am delighted that he will be so directly involved in the project,” said the author, an adaptation of whose political thriller The Ghost, directed by Roman Polanski, is released in cinemas on Friday.

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