Who said internet comment threads are a waste of time? Apparently, if you’re creative enough, your musings can become the basis for a major motion picture.
Warner Bros. has purchased the rights to “Rome Sweet Rome,” a story about U.S. Marines fighting in the time of ancient Rome. The concept was developed from a series of comments pulled from the /r/ AskReddit subreddit.
About a month ago, a question appeared on the subreddit that read “Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion of MEU?” The AskReddit subreddit is a place on the site where users pose questions of all types to fellow Redditors, and discussion ensues.
One user, Prufrock451 posted a comment that was quickly upvoted to the top. The comment was a 5-paragraph beginning of a story. Prufrock451 continued to post installations of his story – titled “Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 etc.” The story, an exercise in flash fiction, became wildly popular on Reddit.
Here’s a snippet from Day 2:
Meanwhile, the mysterious appearance of the Marines has not gone unnoticed. Peasants have fled to the home of the land’s owner, Senator Aulus Terentius Varro Murena. It is 23 BC, and Murena is about to form a Republican conspiracy against Augustus Caesar. He and other Senators are deeply suspicious of the Imperator and fear that he will swamp their ancient order with newly minted Senators from his swelling armies. The appearance of a small but apparently competent armed force – with a vast array of what appears to be bizarre siege machinery – on his land makes him fear the worst. He dispatches several spies to monitor the visitors and orders his retainers to avoid the camp. He also sends messengers to his co-conspirators in the Senate.
Redditors posted their own tidbits to the story, made fan-art and even made trailer mashups for the hypothetical film. It eventually received its own subreddit at /r/RomeSweetRome.
[Poster mockup by user stabyourface]
And now it’s going to be a movie.
Prufrock451 turns out to be James Erwin, a writer and former Jeopardy champion. According to Variety an exec from Madhouse Entertainment contacted Erwin when he saw “Rome Sweet Rome” gaining steam on Reddit. They began working to develop the concept and after it was completed they pitched it the Warner Bros. It looks like the pitch went well.
Erwin tweeted about it this morning –
So just to reiterate – dude, I sold a screenplay to Warner Brothers.
@kn0thing Internet high-five! THWAP
Flash fiction is a growing form of literature these days, but this is definitely a first for something like this. Will you line up to see the film? Let us know in the comments.