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'Rome' Rises Rich With Extras

21 Apr, 2006 By: Jessica Wolf

Rome: The Complete First Season

Rome wasn't built in a day, and neither is a features-laden DVD.

HBO Video has been working on the DVD for the epic series “Rome” for nearly two years, said Sofia Chang, HBO Video's VP of marketing.

Rome: The Complete First Season streets Aug. 15 with all 12 episodes of the acclaimed series accompanied by a legion of extras. The DVD features the most extensive amount of bonus features produced for an HBO original series, Chang said.

HBO began developing footage for extras as it was filming the series, now in production for the second season. The extras include “All Roads Lead to Rome,” an interactive viewing option that reveals pop-up information, mostly historical tidbits. Viewers will have the choice to further investigate the textual information, Chang said.

“All the features were designed to speak to the history,” she said.

Two “Shot x Shot” features dissect scenes in the series with making-of footage for a gladiator sequence and another for the scene celebrating Caesar's triumph.

“The Rise of Rome” shows how filmmakers re-created the city and its people, including sets, wardrobe and military training.

“When in Rome” looks at ancient Roman culture, including the role of women, religious rituals and the moral code.

“Friends, Romans, Countrymen” introduces the characters, and a companion “Character Guide” gives profiles, relationships to other characters and other historical information.

The disc also includes eight audio commentaries with cast members, creator Bruno Heller and other filmmakers, as well as a photo gallery with 50 images from the show.

In keeping with the program's ancient Roman feel, HBO is creating a special pack made of an ultra-lightweight wooden substrate never before used for a home video release.

HBO also is planning an epic marketing campaign centered on the title's summer release, Chang said, with specifics to come.

“We're going to make it the DVD event of the year,” she said.

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