At some point during the filming of Downton Abbey, Julian Fellowes must have thought to himself, "You know, this whole aristocratic drama thing is going well for me, and I enjoy it, but it would be much better if there were some more explosions." And so, having made up his mind, he teamed with with writer and director Paul W. S. Anderson and created Pompeii, an epic love story between a slave and a wealthy merchant's daughter set against the backdrop of the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed the city in 79 AD. It's got romance, it's got action, it's got explosions, and best of all, it's got Jon Snow himself, Kit Harington, as its star.
Pompeii follows Milo (Harington), a slave turned gladiator who must fight his way out of the arena in order to rescue his love, Cassia (Emily Browning), from the path of the volcano's destruction, and flee the city before it is completely destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius. Which means, of course, that their relationship faces not only societal obstacles, but an actual force of nature as well — suddenly the battle for an inheritance doesn't seem quite so exciting. The film also stars Kiefer Sutherland, Carrie-Ann Moss, and Mad Men's Jared Harris.
Based on the trailer, it seems like Pompeii will be action-packed, and between the volcano, the gladiator's arena and the love story, it should have something to entice a varied audience, which will hopefully help the film to stand out from all of the other action films set in ancient times that will be hitting theaters around the same time. It's going to be tough for Pompeii to draw audiences away from 300: Rise of An Empire and Hercules, but hopefully the combination of a star from a beloved franchise and a script that's likely more sophisticated than most typical action films will help it. There's also a great deal of pressure on Harington to carry the film; it's his first starring role, and although he has a major part on Game of Thrones, there are plenty of other plot lines and characters there to keep the show from relying solely on him. If Pompeii is a success, Harington will be able to establish himself as a movie star, and considering how many characters have died on that show, that would probably be a good thing for him.
Pompeii will arrive in theaters on February 21, 2014.Follow @hollywood_com Follow @julesemm