Latest News - May 31, 2010

At the conclusion of the Cannes Film Festival, on May 28, 2010, a bunch of historical period dramas were mentioned by various production teams as being under development.

William the Conquerer
Starz production: focuses on the famous French ruler who, in 1066, led the last successful invasion of the British Isles. [THR]
(October 14th, 1066 is the most famous date in English history. It is the year of TWO invasions of England, and in which three huge and bloody pitched battles were fought.)
I'm curious about this one since there were two different films mentioned last year, both titled "1066", not sure if this is one of them renamed

World Without End
Banking on the success of yet-to-be-released Pillars of the Earth, Starz has already ordered a series of Pillar's sequel novel by Ken Follett.


12-part series brought by producers of Rome, co-production of BBC and HBO
Like "Rome," "Pharaoh" homes in on one dramatic period: the New Kingdom that began in 1479 B.C. with the reign of Queen Hatshepsut, a rare female pharaoh, who ruled as regent until her nephew, Thutmosis III, took the throne. The mighty warrior pharaoh created the largest empire ancient Egypt had ever seen, an international super-power sprawling from southern Syria to northern Sudan."

"Pharaoh," like "Rome," will mix "characters at all levels of life," says producer John Milius, historical and fictional figures, common people with which audiences can identify. One will be a tomb-robber, Milius suggests, others a priest, soldiers and merchants, says Sichler. "Egyptian civilization is remakarbly modern. Egypt's dealings with other powers, the Syrians, Metannites, Babylonian civilizations, are strikingly contemporary in their arguments, their distrust for each other, their building up of separate cultures," he says. "What's important in Egypt compared to Rome is the mysticism, the relationship to death, mummification, to life after death," says Sichler. [filmchat]

The Borgias (2011)
"a complex, unvarnished portrait of one of history's most intriguing and infamous dynastic families."
Jeremy Irons
as Rodrigo Borgia, the family patriarch who was elected pope (taking the name Alexander VI) in 1492. (pictured on left)
Derek Jacobi (Cardinal Orsini)
Colm Feore (
Rodrigo's rival, Cardinal Giuliano Della Rovere)
To be produced by Michael Hirst (The Tudors)
, [cbc]

The Guns of August
4x90 minute historical miniseries based on the Pulitzer-prize winning book by Barbara Tuchman about the first months of World War I.
To be produced by Frank Doelger (Into The Storm)
"Originally published in 1962, "The Guns of August" was an instant best-seller. It also helped shape world events. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, then U.S. President John F. Kennedy commanded his cabinet and all his key advisers read it for its lessons on how military escalation can rapidly spiral out of control. "

Sony Pictures to produce a 4 hour miniseries "both a love story and a thriller, with the historical, apocalyptic backdrop of a city on the precipice of destruction and characters who are totally relatable to a contemporary audience" [THR]

The Medici
Sky Italia along with BBC to produce 8-part Renaissance epic.

"In the era of such characters as Machiavelli, Michelangelo and Galileo, the tale follows the power struggles, violence and sexual intrigues of a banking dynasty that was behind an architectural and artistic rebirth that is still unmatched and went on to make the Medicis one of the most powerful families in Italian history." [THR]


  1. I am so excited to hear that Pompeii is moving forward again--it is a terrific book and will make an excellent series.

    Wm the Conqueror is intriguing, and The Borgias should be as addictive as Rome.

    Thanks for the update.

  2. These all sound great! I'm anxiously awaiting The Pillars of the Earth mini-series (one of my favorite books) and The Borgias.

    I love your blog! Thanks for keeping us up to date on all the great upcoming period films. =O)

  3. I'm surprised that so many were announced at once and we'll wait to see if they all get completed!

    Jane, glad to hear that you liked the book on Pompeii! It does sound intriguing and I love when they cover a drama from a different time period.

    Thanks Michelle!
    I love hearing which projects are coming up so glad to share it with others who might care as well(versus my family who don't give a hoot!)
    I finally read Pillars last year once I heard that it was being adapted. Great motivation to take it off my TBR list!

  4. I cannot wait to see William the Conqueror, but I hate they refer to him as a "French" ruler. I guess if the director is French they have to. LOL!

    Thanks for always keeping us up-to-date. Some of your suggestions are turning me into a real period drama lover. Before I guess I just had misconceptions about it.

  5. Hey Bzirk!
    I'm glad to hear that you're starting to enjoy more period dramas! Definitely my fave kind of film and delving into history has never been so fun!

  6. ahhh! I'm so excited to hear they are making the Borgia's and the Medici's into a miniseries!!! They are my two favorite families in history. do you now when these two series are airing in the USA??? thanks so much

  7. Camille, the one link mentioned early 2011 for the Borgias but I think the Medici is further behind in production.



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