Paul W.S. Anderson to Direct Volcano Adventure 'Pompeii' (Exclusive)

Paul W.S. Anderson Headshot 2011
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

Constantin Film is financing and producing the big-budget film project, while Summit has snapped up U.S. distribution rights.

Paul W.S. Anderson is giving the story of Pompeii the big-screen treatment.

The filmmaker behind the Resident Evil movies will direct Pompeii, a period adventure movie recounting the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the destruction of the ancient Roman city. Like Titanic, another high-profile historical disaster movie, Pompeii film will be anchored by a strong love story.

Constantin Film is financing and producing the big-budget title, while Summit Entertainment has snapped up U.S. distribution rights.

Summit International will launch Pompeii to foreign buyers at the Cannes film market, and it's sure to be one of the hottest titles on the Croisette. So far, no cast has been announced.

Set in late summer 79 A.D., Pompeii revolves around the slave of a shipping tycoon who dreams of the day he can buy his freedom and marry his master's daughter. What the slave doesn't know is that she's already been promised to a corrupt Roman senator, while he's been sold to another owner.

Just when things can't get any worse, Mt. Vesuvius erupts with the power of 40 nuclear bombs. But the slave is trapped on a ship headed for Naples, separated from his love and best friend, a gladiator who is trapped in the city's coliseum. As fire and ash destroy the only world he's ever known, the slave is determined to get back and rescue them.

Insiders say the plan is for Anderson to start shooting Pompeii in spring 2012 from a script by Lee Batchler and Janet Scott Batchler.

The project reteams Constantin, Summit and Anderson, who worked together on The Three Musketeers, another project that began its journey at the Cannes film market.

Anderson is now in post on Three Musketeers, which Summit is releasing in the U.S. in October.Anderson is producing Pompeii with his Resident Evil producers Jeremy Bolt and Robert Kulzer.

Anderson is repped by ICM.