How Many Seasons Of Rome Did Hbo Make? – Once upon a time, before Netflix and other streaming services conquered television, HBO made history by creating an epic series unlike anything seen before. A scale of “Rome” was usually reserved for Hollywood feature films, not the small screen. However, the success of The Sopranos showed that a premium cable network could exceed the expectations of many in television at the time, as the tagline “It’s not TV, it’s HBO.”
For better or worse, those involved in the project approached it with the desire to create something big. Although these efforts were successful, the same motivation also led to the project’s inevitable demise. Years later, “Rome” is known not only for popularizing the epic series, but also as a cautionary tale that a popular show can be expensive.
How Many Seasons Of Rome Did Hbo Make?
Before Rome, HBO had the Mel Gibson-produced miniseries Alexander the Great. The company announced a major effort in 2002 with an estimated budget of $120 million, the same amount HBO spent on Band of Brothers. According to Variety, Mary Reno’s novels “Fire from the Sky” and “Persian Boy” served as sources for the adaptation. The project was released in England and Europe that summer. However, the network eventually chose “Rome” instead of “Alexander”.
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In an interview with Den of Geek, showrunner Bruno Heller explained: “It turned out that Mel Gibson was going to do Alexander, but he wasn’t going to be Alexander. [But HBO] didn’t want to do business with it. How is the director-producer [star] without Mel Mel Gibson?’ After the project fell apart, “Rome” became a more viable option, and HBO instead took the risk of creating an epic without a major movie star.
HBO didn’t spend big on stars like Mel Gibson, but that doesn’t mean Rome was made on the cheap. The cost for the first season reached $110 million, making “Rome” the most expensive TV series ever produced. As noted by Den of Geek, “Game of Thrones” started with a budget of just $60 million for the first season.
In an interview, Kevin McKidd, one of the heads of “Rome”, described the beautiful, skillfully detailed and unusual collections that such a sum has created. she said. “It was the first time anyone had tried it, so we just had to spend the money. And I think they’ve found ways to make it smarter or less… since our show has come along. The gate was just bigger and bigger. And great, and unexpected.”
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To raise the huge amount of money needed for such an expensive project, HBO partnered with the BBC. However, as The Independent reports, HBO paid the lion’s share of the cost, with a spokesperson admitting that the BBC paid significantly less than the network.
As Time magazine notes, the classical world was mistakenly associated with clean, white surfaces due to the weathered appearance of ruins, columns, and other structures. Thus, the creators of the series wanted to distance themselves from that character as much as possible and wanted to represent Roman society more realistically.
Ancient Rome was a lively city, full of markets, social gatherings and community events of all kinds. But the streets were often congested and dirty because of the crowds. As production designer Joseph Bennett explained to The Independent: “So you slowly imagine a very crowded, wet, smelly, noisy and hot city. There is a contemporary description of a man sleeping on a roof to escape his tormentors. Crazy by heat, and sounds and smells. It is located in Soho. As it should be, only with insane wealth and insane poverty.”
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Describing his vision of the city in The New York Times, Bruno Heller said: “The Rome of that time was like Bombay or Mexico City. It was a dirty, wild, wild place,” commented executive producer Frank Dolger in an interview with Time. He emphasized how beautifully colorful Rome was, but also filled his mind with obscene graffiti and public toilets like Bombay or Calcutta.
When Kevin McKidd reflected on his experience filming “Rome” at Danner’s Den, he said: “It was almost like a summer camp for British actors. Old actors talking, who told us great stories about all the time they spent in the theatre. The production was probably the same as McKidd’s. Most of the actors involved were British, an odd choice since most of the characters are supposed to be ancient Latin speakers.
According to The Independent, this was because the series’ producers felt that any hint of an American accent would be bad for authenticity. A BBC mole revealed that “they wanted to avoid any sign of Hollywood. They thought English actors sounded more faithfully Roman.” If the actors were relatively unknown on the Hollywood scene, some, like Kenneth Cranham, were major stars of the British stage.
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The series may not have been filmed on the modern streets of Rome, but it was filmed on a huge set located near the famous Cinecitta Studios, where classics such as Roman Holiday, Ben-Hur and Cleopatra were filmed. . Recently, Martin Scorsese’s film ‘Gangs of New York’ has been shot several times. According to the New York Times, only remnants of that collection remained in Rome’s massive reconstruction.
With the project covering five acres of land and building six sound stages (according to The Independent), the unusually large team had a lot to do. For comparison, let’s note that “Cleopatra” used only two studios and a part of the backstage. In just four months, a life-size replica of the city was built, complete with luxurious villas, luxury apartments, elaborate temples and forums. Joseph Bennett says: “It must have some longevity, like ancient Rome.”
Many of the characters appearing in “Rome” are recognizable even to modern audiences. Epic figures like Julius Caesar, Cleopatra, and Mark Antony are not only staples of the standard knowledge of the ancient world, but they were more recognizable through popular culture long before HBO’s Rome debuted. However, the creators of the series wanted to show the life of ordinary people. Thus, the series’ two main characters, Lucius Vorenus (McKidd) and Titus Pullo (Ray Stevenson), are based on actual lower-class Romans. According to Dane of Geek, Julius Caesar is the only soldier to mention them by name in his writings. Little is known about the actual men, so writers were free to make up their own stories just for fun.
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What we know comes from Caesar’s own account of the Gallic Wars. In this conflict, the pair were Roman centurions of the 13th legion. “There were two very brave men in that army,” said the general, “the centurions, who were now in the front line, T. Pulfio and L. Varenas. There is precedence. Every year they fight against extreme odds for promotion. After describing a moment when Fierce rivalry among friends leads to great bravery in battle, Caesar said:
Kevin McKidd was very interested in being considered for the role of Lucius Vorenus, but the studio initially chose him over Titus Pullo. McKidd told Dance Geek that the struggle went on for a while, and he almost turned down being on the show, but eventually got the part after being asked to screen test as the character. The decision paid off as both she and her co-star Ray Stevenson had great chemistry throughout the series’ two seasons.
McKidd also pointed to the endearing way in which his relationship with Stevenson mirrored their characters off screen. she said. “He and I quarreled at first. We had very different styles. Ray has this big, larger-than-life personality, and as Bruno says, I’m this “Presbyterian” or you could say a little. More… control… and we got to have a lot of fights and fights, and it was tough in the first season.” McKidd and Stevenson became close friends by season 2, as did Vorenas and Pullo, and they remain close today.
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“Rome” performed so well after its debut that it was greenlit for a second season. Unfortunately, next season’s production costs cut too deeply into HBO’s overall budget. So, he decided to end “Rome” after season 2, before it aired. Cancellation may be incorrect. There wasn’t even a second season
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