Friday, August 05, 2005

Empire's Tyrannus was also Riverworld's Nero

One more interesting tidbit about Empire's Tyrannus. I didn't realize it but Jonathan Cake who played Tyrannus played Nero in the Sci-Fi Channel's original production of 'Riverworld'. Now I'm going to have to watch Riverworld again with renewed interest. For those of you who have never heard of Riverworld, it is a production based on a book by Philip Jose Farmer entitled 'To Your Scattered Bodies Go'.

'This novel introduces the setting of 'Riverworld,' a mysterious
planet where the entire human race from all time periods is suddenly a inexplicably `resurrected.' Constructs known as grails provide food and other items for the billions of humans. Who or what created the Riverworld, and why did it reconstruct the whole of the human race? That question hangs over the entire story, as our hero, the legendary Victorian adventurer, Orientalist, anthropoligist, writer, and swordsman Richard Francis Burton, sets out on a quest to locate the masters of Riverworld. He has some interesting companions: a 20th century American, an alien visitor from the last days of Earth, a Neanderthal, the woman who inspired the character of Alice in Wonderland, and...well, Nazi leader Hermann Goering. Burton wants to uncover the secrets of Riverworld, but the entities responsible for it want to find him as well, for he holds a secret that they desperately need.'

In the original book, Hermann Goering is the villain of the piece but in the Sci Fi Channel version, Nero takes center stage - played by Jonathan Cake. It had been a while since I watched the Sci Fi piece so I didn't recognize Jonathan Cake when I watched 'Empire'. I just knew that I liked his performance.

If the Sci Fi Channel people had studied their Roman history, they would have selected Commodus rather than Nero. Nero is portrayed as a skilled swordsman and gladiator-type fighter - not the poet, actor, and lyre player.

Riverworld is also available on DVD.

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