DiCaprio & Monahan On Claudius?

Producer Scott Rudin has picked up the film rights to Robert Graves’ Roman Empire-set novel, “I, Claudius” for a cool two million dollars reports the trades.

Leonardo DiCaprio and screenwriter William Monahan (“The Departed”) are circling the project, the pair were part of a rival bid by Warner Bros., butno offers have yet been made.

“Claudius” is not yet set up at a studio, though sources said it likely will land at Walt Disney Studios, where Rudin is housed.

Graves’ 1934 novel “I, Claudius,” recounts the internecine plots and counterplots surrounding Claudius, the fourth emperor of Rome, who ruled from 41-54 AD. The novel’s period covers the time from the end of the first Emperor Augustus’ reign to the crowning of Nero.

The novel has previously been adapted twice, most memorably the 1976 BBC miniseries starring the likes of Derek Jacobi, John Hurt, Sian Phillips, Patrick Stewart, Brian Blessed, John Rhys-Davies and Bernard Hill amongst others.

Whether the controversial content will be included in the new adaptation is hard to say. The BBC mini-series included the most famous scene, albeit mostly offscreen, of Caligula (John Hurt) cutting out and then eating the foetus of his pregnant sister.