Vin Diesel: Lisa O'Connor/ZUMA Press/Newscom
Gary Susman
July 09, 2002 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”XXX” star Vin Diesel is going back to CCXVIII B.C. According to Variety, he’s starring in ”Hannibal,” which is not another ”Silence of the Lambs” movie, but a biopic about the Carthaginian general whose army crossed the Alps with elephants to attack Rome in 218 B.C. Diesel will also coproduce the film for the Sony-based Revolution Studios. The busy ”Fast and the Furious” star hopes to shoot the film early next year, after ”The Chronicles of Riddick” (his sequel to the sci-fi hit ”Pitch Black”) and before making a sequel to his spy thriller ”XXX,” which opens next month.

Of course, in Hollywood, everyone has the same idea at the same time. Fox is already developing a ”Hannibal” picture for Denzel Washington. Both projects fit into a larger trend of sword-and-sandal epics that started with ”Gladiator.” Also on the drawing boards are four movies about Alexander the Great (including one from Oliver Stone and one from Martin Scorsese) and two movies (one from Fox, one from Universal) about the Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C.

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