Sky One turns to Ancient Rome for drama

LONDON - Sky One is to air a new six-part drama series set during the Roman Empire, which chronicles the life of Octavius, the boy destined to become Emperor Augustus after the death of Julius Caesar.

'Empire' has been shot entirely on location in southern Italy and Rome, with an international cast including Santiago Cabrera from 'Heroes', playing the lead role of Octavius.

Cabrera played Isaac Mendez, the artist who painted the future, in series one of 'Heroes'.

The TV series is set in 44BC and Rome is a Republic stricken by poverty and controlled by a Senate corrupted by power.

Conqueror Julius Caesar, played by Colm Feore from 'Chicago', is murdered by members of the Senate; General Marc Antony, played by Vincent Regan from 'Troy' and '300', assumes the throne.

However, Caesar's dying wish is for his 17-year-old nephew, Octavius, to become his heir. Raised in privilege and pleasure, Octavius has never seen a battlefield and has no experience of leading a Republic. Antony vows to annihilate Caesar's entire bloodline and retain his control.

Octavius finds an ally in the gladiator Tyrannus (Jonathan Cake from 'First Knight'), who has sworn to protect him and help secure his inherited throne.

The duo must wrestle the tenuous power from Antony's grasp with the help of Agrippa (Chris Egan from 'Home and Away'), a young soldier and Camane (Emily Blunt from 'The Devil Wears Prada'), a vestal virgin.

'Empire', which has been made by the executive producers of the Oscar-winning movie 'Chicago', starts Thursday June 26 at 10pm on Sky One.

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