In October 2011, Warners preemptively purchased the "Rome, Sweet Rome" pitch from first-time scribe James Erwin, an author and two-time "Jeopardy!" champion from Des Moines, Iowa. Erwin's pitch sale sprang from several postings on Reddit, an online community and social news aggregator where he set out to answer the question: "What if a unit of U.S. Marines are transported back in time and forced to do battle with Roman legions?"
Madhouse Entertainment's Adam Kolbrenner spotted Erwin's "Rome, Sweet Rome" posts once they were voted to the Reddit home page and moved quickly to contact the writer and begin working with him to develop the concept. When it came time to find a home for the project, Kolbrenner brought it to WB exec Chris Gary, who encouraged the studio to move aggressively to acquire it.
Erwin ended up writing a draft of the screenplay, but the studio felt it needed a fresh approach -- which is where Miller, who never saw Erwin's draft, comes in. Latest logline only slightly tweaks the original, however, pitting "U.S. Special Forces," as opposed to Marines, against Roman warriors.