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The Last Legion (2007)

SYNOPSIS
Rome, 476AD. The Roman Empire is under threat. A mighty force for almost 500 years, at its height Rome’s power spread from Mesopotamia in the east to the Iberian peninsula in the west, from the Rhine and Danube in the north to Egypt in the south. This story follows the events surrounding the historical capture of Romulus Augustus and his imprisonment on the island of Capri.

On the eve of the ceremony to crown twelve-year-old Romulus Augustus (THOMAS SANGSTER) as the new emperor, the Barbarian general Odoacer (PETER MULLAN) arrives in Rome to make a deal with Orestes (IAIN GLEN),patrician and father of the young Caesar. Odoacer makes demands on the power of the Roman Empire , in fair exchange for his decade-long support of the Roman legions in the east. Orestes refuses.

On the day of the coronation, as the whole of Rome gathers to watch the proceedings, Ambrosinus (SIR BEN KINGSLEY), the shaman who is a mentor and tutor to Romulus , predicts danger. Orestes is worried for his son’s safety and appoints Aurelius (COLIN FIRTH), the tribune of the fourth legion, as his personal guard. That night Aurelius and his legionnaires are confronted by a real danger – Odoacer and his army of Goths have returned to the outskirts of Rome to conquer the city.

With a deafening roar, the Barbarian army storm the city. A terrible battle ensues, the brutal invaders show no mercy and blood flows through the streets.

With Orestes and his wife Julia slaughtered, Romulus is captured along with Ambrosinus and both are taken to the island fortress of Capri built by the emperor Tiberius. It is there that Romulus finds the mythical sword of Caesar that holds the prophecy ‘One edge to defend, one to defeat; In Britannia was I forged…to fit the hand of he…who is destined to rule’.

But not all the Roman legionnaires are dead. Aurelius is alive and when he learns that the Byzantine Empire will give Romulus sanctuary, he embarks on the journey to the coast accompanied by a small group of his men and a mysterious, black-clad Byzantine warrior. On the journey, Aurelius discovers what lies behind the black clothing – a young, beautiful woman called Mira (AISHWARYA RAI).

Thanks to the strategic cunning of Ambrosinus and the fighting skill of Aurelius and Mira, Romulus is freed. But when the group arrive on shore, they learn that the Byzantines have joined forces with the Goths. Faced with such betrayal, the only course of action is to reach the one legion still loyal to Rome – the ninth legion in Britannia.

As they set off on their dangerous trek North in search of the last legion, Romulus discovers a new father figure in his protector Aurelius and together they embark on a new beginning. (per di Laurentiis Productions, August 18, 2006)

Release Date: TBA Summer 2007 (per di Laurentiis Productions, March 8, 2007)

DISCUSSION
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GALLERY
View images from the movie in the Gallery.

CAST
(in alphabetical order; click on name to visit website)

James Cosmo (Troy, Trainspotting, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe).

Cosmo plays Hrothgar. Note: Mullan, McKidd and Cosmo worked together previously on Trainspotting.

Colin Firth (Bridget Jones’ Diary, Pride & Prejudice, Love, Actually, Nanny McPhee)

Firth plays the legionnaire Aurelius to Thomas Sangster’s Romulus Augustus. Note: Firth and Sangster both appeared in the film Love, Actually, although their characters never shared a scene. They co-star together again in Nanny McPhee – this time sharing a lot of screentime.

Iain Glen (Gorillas in the Mist, Kingdom of Heaven, Tara Road)

Glen plays Orestes, father of Romulus Augustus. Note: Glen, Siddig and McKidd all appeared in Kingdom of Heaven.

John Hannah (The Mummy, Sliding Doors)

Hannah is Nestor.

Sir Ben Kingsley (Ghandi, Sexy Beast, House of Sand and Fog)

Kingsley plays Augustus’ (Sangster) teacher Ambrosinus.

Kevin McKidd (Trainspotting, Rome)

McKidd plays Wulfila, a Goth soldier. Note: Mullan, McKidd and Cosmo worked together previously on Trainspotting. Glen, Siddig and McKidd all appeared in Kingdom of Heaven.

Peter Mullan (Braveheart, Trainspotting, Criminal)

Mullan plays Goth general Odoacer. Note: Mullan, McKidd and Cosmo worked together previously on Trainspotting.

Aishwarya Rai (Bride & Prejudice, Devdas, Singularity)

Rai plays the Byzantine warrior Mira who joins with a small band of Roman soldiers determined to restore the Empire.

Thomas Sangster (Love, Actually, Nanny McPhee)

Sangster plays young Romulus Augustus. Note: Sangster and Firth both appeared in the film Love, Actually, although their characters never shared a scene. They co-star together again in Nanny McPhee – this time sharing a lot of screentime.

Alexander Siddig (Kingdom of Heaven, Syriana)

Sid plays Theodorus Andronikos, the Byzantine Emissary. Note: Glen, Siddig and McKidd all appeared in Kingdom of Heaven.

PRODUCTION NOTES
Filming began in Tunisia in August 2005 before moving to Slovakia in September 2005. Filming wrapped at the end of October 2005. (per DarkHorizons.com)

ARTICLES & INTERVIEWS
‘The Last Legion’ Begins Filming (DarkHorizons.com)

LINKS
IMDB film page