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Sony Developing Epic Adaptation of Xenophon's Anabasis

by
August 2, 2008

Sony Developing Epic Adaptation of Xenophon's Anabasis

Columbia Pictures is developing a film based on Anabasis, a memoir written around 400 B.C. by Xenophon, a Greek soldier who was among 10,000 elite mercenaries who attacked the Persian Empire and who led them back through hostile terrain after their leader was betrayed and slain. We already know that the success of 300 helped move this project along and Sony is adapting it officially as "an epic action film." The script is being written by Robert Schenkkan, a Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright who just wrote the HBO miniseries The Pacific as well as penned the screenplay for the TV movies The Andromeda Strain and Spartacus. Although this isn't exactly the most exciting news, I'm sure we can expect to hear a lot more about this in the future as Sony attempts to create an epic success out of another historical tale.

Sony Picture's CEO Michael Lynton and Schenkkan both read the book in college and took an interest in adapting it, however it wasn't until the success of 300 last year that it actually came together. "Crazy tribes, brutal terrain, vicious combat, hellacious weather -- Anabasis is full of astounding endurance and heroism," explains Jonathan Sharp, one of the producers. The memoir is an ancient story written after Xenophon led the 10,000 Greek mercenaries back through hostile terrain to the Black Sea after their leader, Cyrus the Younger, had been killed (you can read more over on Wikipedia). The producer involved in the project are all either authors of historical books or historical consults on projects like HBO's "Rome." Apparently this ancient tale even inspired the cult classic The Warriors, although I don't really know how.

I chose to write about this news because I'm very interested in epic historical tales and intrigued by Hollywood's new-found fascination with ancient Greek stories. While 300 will always be remembered as the original epic film that brought this new wave of "sword and sandal" films into Hollywood, I'm wondering which of the big ones will end up being better, hence why I wanted to mention this project. I'm not personally familiar with the details and haven't ever read Anabasis, but it sounds quite intriguing. Schenkkan as a writer isn't very reassuring, but as long as they get the right director, this could potentially be a big hit. Is anyone looking forward to these epic Greek tales?

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  • K
    Awesome! Love these massive anicent epic movies! Loved 300! Can't wait to hear and see more...
  • LeeMan
    when are they gonna make a new warriors movie?!(it was loosely based on anabasis)
  • Jojo
    How many movies are they making that are kinda like 300?
  • Curtis
    im all for it as long as they get a good director who know what he/she is doing.
  • I had long been hoping for an adaptation of Xenophon's Anabasis, because I saw the seeds of what could truly be a great film when I read it for a class in Greek. Truth be told, I think that it could be a better film than 300.
  • BRBomber
    300 will NEVER be beat!!!! THIS IS SPARTA!!!!
  • Hector N
    300 gets boring with several viewings
  • Ian Kazimer
    I would love to see an all around solid flick based in the epics that didn't use slow motion to reach the feature length mark.
  • You guys really need to cite your sources more.
  • zubzwank
    I don't think you can give 300 credit for re-upping sword and sandal. Gladiator did that. Gladiator begat Troy, Alexander, and 300, which then took the genre to new heights.
  • If the wonderful book "Anabasis" will be turned into another horrific waste of celluloid like that racist, unauthentic, testosterone-laden piece of filth that is "300", then I'm not interested. If you think "300" was a film about history, it might be a good idea to start reading some good books.
  • doc
    I'm all for movies about ancient Greece. However, ONLY if made with taste and historic accuracy! The 300 was neither! Great action scenes, though. The movie should have been made from Steve Pressfields book, "Gates Of Fire"! The 300 Spartans from 1962 had some boo boo's but still was a lot closer to history then 300.
  • paul
    I LOVE GREEK HISTORY! The Glory is endless, 300 sequal based on the battle of platea is comin up, but ANABASIS should set the record for epic greek movies (troy sucked). XENOPHON is an unsung hero, Leonidas and Alexander ussually get all the praise, this movie should change that. Anabasis is quoted as
  • ?????
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  • Andy
    I just hope we're not going to see another Troy which was really cringeworthy. I've read and loved the Anabasis, and I'm half excited and half concerned that I'll be disappointed. I think that a lot depends on the casting, a few new faces would make the film more credible, rather than the usual overrated A list celebs that are cast who play the same character in every film that they are in. I'd like to see a film of this genre look the Orient vs Occident situation sensitively, and unbiasedly. All historical fiction is of the moment (Troy was made during the Gulf War, and 300 to a background of 'the war on terror) and it is important that the East/West theme of this movie is handled better than 300 which portrayed the persian army as a band of circus freaks. 9/11 is the reason we are seeing a return to this genre of film.
  • Bruce Tutcher
    Any word on how the production for 'Anabasis' is going, if at all? I've been looking around and saw nothing concrete.
  • Oliver Magrath
    The 'Anabasis' done properly, could be one of the best films ever made. Xenophon and his Greek hoplites were extremely brave, strong and inspiring in in managing to get themselves home. Really looking forward to hearing more about this project as it develops.
  • Oliver Magrath
    The 'Anabasis' done properly, could be one of the best films ever made. Xenophon and his Greek hoplites were extremely brave, strong and inspiring in managing to get themselves home. Really looking forward to hearing more about this project as it develops.
  • zubzwank
    # 12-You're right about Gates of Fire. It's a terrific and accurate depiction of life in ancient Sparta.
  • Well, shit guys. I was looking forward to this movie just as much as the rest of you, but I have confirmation that, due to the death of one of the principals, it is now shelved indefinitely. Although the particulars are uncertain, spotty reports have made it clear that Xenophon has passed away somewhere in southern Greece. Without his assistance, the film cannot realistically be completed. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Roman Pederast Support Fund, via Swiss bank account # CH10 00230 00A10Z502326.
  • Jonathanmarshallbowman
    Hopefully it will be accurate and not totally stupid like 300 was
  • Jonathanmarshallbowman
    Hopefully it will be accurate and not totally stupid like 300 was
  • Anonymous
    hopefuly it may get done...it's been 3 years and noone ever heard back from the project...

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