HBO's ''Rome'' not built in one day -- The expensive toga drama will premiere this fall

By EW Staff
Updated January 17, 2005 at 05:00 AM EST

So you liked Troy and Alexander? Neither did anyone else. That hasn’t stopped HBO from embarking on its riskiest series to date — an epic toga drama chronicling the life of two soldiers from Julius Caesar’s army. Unlike those big-screen hunk-a-paloozas, Rome will offer ”a kitchen-sink point of view,” explains writer Bruno Heller (The Huntress). ”Everyday life as it’s lived in Rome is what this show will bring to the table — something that no one has really done before.” Yet not unlike Troy and Alexander, the series, starring Ciaran Hinds (The Sum of All Fears) as Caesar and James Purefoy (Vanity Fair) as Mark Antony, comes with a whopping $100 million budget — much of which has been spent re-creating the old country at Rome’s Cinecittà studios (where Ocean’s Twelve was filmed last year). No ancient detail has been too small (or too big) to replicate, from a rustic brothel and a coed public potty to a life-size replica of the Senate building where Caesar will meet his fate at the end of season 1 (so far, HBO has ordered 12 episodes). ”Making it look real is a long, painstaking process,” admits Heller. ”We all have to adjust to that. I can say Rome wasn’t built in a day.” Ah, but did you have to?