Producer Scott Rudin has acquired screen rights to the Robert Graves historical novel I, Claudius, according to Variety.
It is expected that The Departed tandem of Leonardo DiCaprio, and Oscar-winning screenwriter William Monahan will become attached. That duo was part of a rival bid made by Warner Bros.
Rudin, who paid $2 million for the rights, hasn't yet set the picture at a studio, but it's likely to land at Disney -- where he has an overall deal -- and it could be made in concert with Miramax and Touchstone. Rudin will produce with Alison Owen, with whom he produced The Other Boleyn Girl.
Graves's famed book about the Roman Empire as told through the eyes of Claudius, starting with the rise of Augustus Caesar to emperor in 24 B.C., and ending with the crowning of Nero in 54 A.D. The book featured all the attendant backstabbing, violence and debauchery that was part and parcel of the Roman ruling class.