Social Cinema: Reddit Post Catches Hollywood’s Attention

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And here's your movie poster.

“Rome Sweet Rome” isn’t the name of a corny pizza joint. (That we know of.) It’s actually the title of an alternate history screenplay.  The plot sees U.S. Marines travel back in time to do battle with the Roman army.

So what’s so special about a Jarhead-meets-Gladiator-meets-Back to the Future screenplay, you might ask? Well, Warner Brothers’ latest movie-pitch purchase first appeared as a post on social news site Reddit, authored by two-time Jeopardy! champion James Erwin.

According to Variety, the Des Moines writer posted the story in response to perhaps the strangest question NewsFeed has ever read: “Could I destroy the entire Roman Empire during the reign of Augustus if I traveled back in time with a modern U.S. Marine infantry battalion or MEU?”

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Erwin’s tantalizing tale struck a chord with Reddit users, quickly gaining 4,000 “upvotes” as well as its very own sub-category for future installments.

The pitch also piqued the interest of Hollywood, and Los Angeles-based production company Madhouse Entertainment soon contacted Erwin and Warner Brothers to suggest adapting the story into a screenplay.

It is thought to be the first ever case of a forum post becoming a movie pitch, but we are still some way to seeing “Rome Sweet Rome” on the silver screen. A script has yet to be written, but NewsFeed can already picture that Summer 2015 blockbuster poster showing Russell Crowe, Josh Hartnett and Michael J. Fox landing a time-traveling helicopter in the middle of the Colosseum. Here’s hoping.

Jak Phillips is a contributor at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @JakPhillips. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.

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