Photo credit: vipflash /
Photo credit: vipflash /

‘Ben Hur’ just crashed its chariot two weekends ago, making it one of the most expensive flops of the year.  Following another dud, ‘Gods of Egypt’ this spring, and maybe it’s time Hollywood realized that the swords and sandals genre is essentially dead when it comes to film audiences.  But maybe adding a futuristic sci-fi twist is the key to making the concept viable again.

Director Olivier Megaton and writer Hal Ozsan are at work on a film entitled ‘Champion’ which is described as a futuristic take on ‘Spartacus’ which “tells of a man falsely imprisoned for an act of terrorism who must battle through the prison’s gladiator program to regain his freedom.”

Steve Richards is financing ‘Champion’ through his company Endurance Media.  Richards will also produce with Steve Barnett and James Tomlinson with Brian Spink attached to executive produce.  The film is expected to begin production in early 2017.

What would make this film unique?  Action, action, action.  Megaton has directed the Liam Neeson-starring hits ‘Taken 2’ and ‘Taken 3’ as well as Jason Statham in ‘The Transporter 2’ and Zoe Saldana in ‘Columbiana’.

Hal Ozsan

This is the first script from screenwriter Hal Ozsan, but he has acted on dozens of shows, including lengthy stints on ‘Dawson’s Creek’, ‘Fallen’, ‘Californication’, ‘Kyle XY’, ‘90210’, ‘The Black List’, ‘Impastor’ and ‘Graceland’.

No word on casting.  But with Ozsan’s past, could he take the lead?  That remains to be seen.

The story of ‘Spartacus’ has been adapted several times, perhaps most famously in the 1960 epic film directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier.

Most recently, STARZ aired four seasons of ‘Spartacus’, subtitled ‘Gods of the Arena’, ‘Blood and Sand’, ‘Vengeance’ and ‘War of the Damned’.  The show initially starred Andy Whitfield until his death from non-Hodgkin lymphoma.  Liam McIntyre assumed the role after that.  The show also featured appearances by Manu Bennett, Lucy Lawless and Jai Courtney.

Does an action-packed ‘Spartacus’ in space sound exciting to you?

Source: The Hollywood Reporter