Clive Barker to Take on 'Zombies vs. Gladiators' for Amazon Studios

Clive Barker P 2012
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A brand name in horror, he will rewrite the project being developed by Amazon.com's film unit.

Horror-meister Clive Barker has been tapped to rewrite Zombies vs. Gladiators, an action horror movie being developed by Amazon Studios, the unit of Amazon.com that was launched in 2010 to use audience feedback in the development of movie and TV scripts.

Set in ancient Rome, the Zombies vs. Gladiators story begins when a shaman who is about to die in the Colosseum casts a spell that unleashes the world’s first zombies. It’s up to a gladiator to stop the spread of the zombie horde and save Rome.

Because of popular fan support for the Zombies idea, Amazon Studios, which has 16 movies in development, is moving forward on the project with Barker at the helm.

Zombies vs. Gladiators is now in the hands of someone who has written genre-defining material throughout his career,” said Roy Price, director of Amazon Studios. “We are excited to see how Clive will add his unique narrative to capture the essence of this story and propel the project into something unique and original that could one day be enjoyed by all audiences.” 

Said Barker: “I’m excited by the opportunity to interweave two very rich narrative threads. One of them concerns itself with the reality of the decadence of Rome and its rise and fall. The other is a fantastical narrative element: the living dead. My brief to myself on this project is to give the audience not only zombies they have never seen before but also a Rome they have never seen before.”

Barker is a prolific novelist and artist, who has made frequent forays into film. He directed 1987’s Hellraiser, based on his novella The Hellbound Heart; he adapted and directed Nightbreed from his short story Cabal in 1990; and he executive produced 1992’s Candyman and its sequel Candyman 2: Farewell to the Flesh. In 1998, he executive produced Gods and Monsters, which won an adapted screenplay Oscar for Bill Condon.

Barker, repped by APA and Zero Gravity Management, is completing the fourth volume in his Abarat children’s books series.