'I, Claudius' Redo May Crown DiCaprio


Producer Scott Rudin has acquired Robert Graves' classic historical soap "I, Claudius" potentially as a star vehicle for Leonardo DiCaprio.

According to the industry trades, Rudin's $2 million bid won the rights to Graves' novel, but that DiCaprio and Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan were attached to a rival bid from Warner Bros.

The trade papers speculate that Rudin is likely to bring "I, Claudius" to Disney, where he has a production deal, and that DiCaprio and Monahan are expected to remain involved.

Jim Sheridan had held the rights to the book, but when his option lapsed, Graves' estate held an auction with Universal, Working Title, New Line and Paramount all rumored to be involved in the bidding.

Written as the newly discovered autobiography of the Emperor Claudius, the 1934 novel covered a wide swath of history relating to the Julio-Claudian Dynasty and the Roman Emperor. Really, though, it dealt with violence, sex and power.

The story is most familiar to contemporary audiences from the 1976 BBC miniseries, which starred Derek Jacobi as the limping, stammering emperor. The 13-part epic won an Emmy for art direction.

The trades are quick to note that there are no deals in place yet for either DiCaprio or Monahan.

The "Blood Diamond" and "Departed" star just worked with Rudin on DreamWorks' adaptation of "Revolutionary Road."

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