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ABC Empire Series

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"Empire" is a sweeping new limited drama series from the executive producers of the Academy Award-winning "Chicago." The period drama focuses on Julius Caesar's nephew, Octavius, who is forced into exile after Caesar's murder, and a fictional disgraced gladiator, Tyrannus, who has sworn to protect him. The series is slated to air during the 2004-2005 season on the ABC Television Network.

The one-hour, six-episode series, which features a stellar international cast led by Jonathan Cake ("First Knight," Hallmark's "Noah's Ark") and Santiago Cabrera ("Haven"), with guest and recurring stars including Dennis Haysbert ("24")and Trudie Styler ("Friends," "Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister"), will be one of the most lavish and technically complex ever to air on ABC in primetime. "Empire" is being executive-produced by award-winning producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron ("Life with Judy Garland: Me and My Shadows," "Meredith Willson's The Music Man," "Brian's Song," ABC's "Annie," "Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella," "The Reagans" and ABC's comedy series "It's All Relative"), Tony Jonas ("Queer as Folk," "Leap Years"), Chip Johannessen ("24," "The X-Files,") and Thomas Wheeler ("The Prometheus Project," "The Mission"), who is also series creator.

The time is 44 B.C. and the Conqueror Julius Caesar (Colm Feore, "Chicago," "And Starring Pancho Villa as Himself") returns from triumphs in Spain to a neglected Republic and a corrupt Senate, drunk with power. Though he's hailed as a hero by the masses, the Senate is wary of Caesar's plans that might place him in a position of ultimate power. Brutus (James Frain, USA Network's "Spartacus," "Arabian Nights") and Cassius (Michael Maloney, Kenneth Branagh's "Hamlet," "Painted Lady") attempt to enlist the assistance of Marc Antony (Vincent Regan, "Troy," "Joan of Arc") in overthrowing Caesar, but Antony is loyal to Caesar and refuses. A terrible conflict looms and the fate of an empire will fall to one man - a gladiator named Tyrannus.

Tyrannus (Jonathan Cake), Caesar's bodyguard and confidant and Rome's finest warrior, is undefeated in the arena and considered a champion among men. A slave since he was a young man, Tyrannus impresses Caesar with his fighting prowess and his popularity, and with his dedication to Rome. Caesar offers him freedom in return for his service and friendship. However the Senate puts up a vicious fight for power and manages to separate Caesar from Tyrannus' protective grasp by sending the gladiator to one last match to the death. Cassius and Brutus have Tyrannus' son, Piso, kidnapped. Tyrannus rushes to his son's rescue and kills his kidnappers only to realize that the abduction is a diversion. He hurries to Caesar's side, but it is too late. His absence results in Brutus successfully leading a group of conspirators in assassinating the great conqueror. As he is drawing his last breath, Caesar swears Tyrannus to an oath to protect his successor, Octavius (Santiago Cabrera), his 18-year-old nephew.

Tyrannus and Octavius are forced into exile to protect the young man from those who want to sever Caesar's bloodline once and for all. They are joined by Agrippa (Chris Egan, Australian series "Home & Away"), a young soldier, and Camane (Emily Blunt, "Warrior Queen"), a Vestal Virgin from the powerful religious Order whose members are being hunted down for trying to save Octavius. Together they will help Octavius fulfill his destiny. He leaves Rome an impetuous boy, but will Octavius return an Emperor?

Historical References

Julius Caesar

Ides of March

Death of Caesar

Aftermath

Marcus Antonius

Octavius

Did you know?

Latin was the language originally spoken in the region around Rome called Latium. It gained great importance as the formal language of the Roman Empire. All Romance languages descend from a Latin parent, and many words based on Latin are found in other modern languages such as English.

ABC Empire Series
ABC Empire Cast
Production Notes
Executive Producers


ABC Empire Series - Related Topics: Roman History - Roman Provinces - Roman Timeline


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