Relativity Media has acquired rights for a film adaptation of Robert Graves’ classic Roman Empire-set novel “I, Claudius”.
Acclaimed filmmaker Jim Sheridan will direct and co-write the script with longtime collaborator Nye Heron.
Graves’ 1934 novel recounts the internecine plots and counterplots surrounding Claudius, the fourth emperor of Rome who ruled from 41-54 A.D and is considered one of the best novels of the 20th century.
The stuttering and handicapped Claudius, born into a murderous, imperial family, used his cunning mind and rivals’ misjudgment of his disability to not only survive but eventually become one of Rome’s greatest emperors.
The story runs through Claudius’ life and the various emperors who reigned before him including Augustus, Tiberius, and the mad Caligula. A sequel novel, “Claudius the God”, deals with his reign and ends with Claudius’ death and succession by Nero.
Although previously adapted onto film in n uncompleted 1937 feature, it remains best known via the 1976 BBC ten-episode miniseries adaptation of both books.
That project had a stellar cast that included Derek Jacobi, John Hurt, Brian Blessed, Patrick Stewart, Sian Phillips, John Rhys-Davies, Bernard Hill and Kevin McNally.
Along with stellar reviews and many awards, it drew controversy for its dark elements such as the scene where Caligula (John Hurt) off-screen cuts out and ingests the fetus of the sister he impregnated.
No production date has been set for the new film version.