Oscar Winner Robert Towne to Write Script For 'Pompeii'

The TV miniseries re-imagines the aborted Polanski feature project.


CANNES – Oscar-winner screenwriter Robert Towne (Chinatown) has singed on to pen the script to the four-part miniseries Pompeii.

The series, a re-imagining of a feature project Roman Polanski was set to direct some three years ago, has been set up as a multi-nation co-production with partners including Sony Pictures TV, Ridley and Tony Scott's Scott Free and Germany's Tandem Communications.

As with the aborted Polanski film, Pompeii is based on the best-selling historic thriller by Robert Harris. After the original film version of the book fell through, Harris and Polanski collaborated on the director's adaptation of his modern-day novel The Ghost Writer. But Polanski is not involved in the Pompeii mini-series.

The plot of Harris' novel revolves around a young aqueduct engineer Marcus Attilius, who is racing against time to try and keep water flowing to the ancient cities of the Bay of Naples. He is unaware that another clock is ticking and that deadly volcano Mount Vesuvius is about to erupt.

"I am thrilled that Robert will bring his trademark vision to this remarkable project,” Ridley Scott said. “In portraying an historical world on the brink of destruction, he will no doubt capture and engage audiences globally.”

Peace Out Productions, Dolphin Entertainment and Leder Productions are also on board as co-producers. Tandem, which is also selling the project at international TV market MipTV, recently locked down deals with Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 and Sky in the U.K.