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A Heroic Epic For The Ages
Set in a magical era veiled by the mists of time, replete with heroes and monsters, adventure and valor, gold and glory, one exceptional man, Beowulf, emerges to save an ancient Danish kingdom from annihilation by an ungodly creature. In return, this legendary six foot-six-inch Viking, brimming with daring confidence and ambition, succeeds to the throne.

The name Beowulf resounds throughout the kingdom and songs are sung of his exceptional prowess and deeds after he comes to the rescue of King Hrothgar, whose kingdom has been devastated by Grendel, a ruthless monster who has tortured and devoured its residents, leaving them in a constant state of panic and fear.

In ridding the kingdom of this savage beast, Beowulf gains fame and fortune for himself. Great riches and overwhelming temptations are thrown at him. How wisely he chooses to handle his newfound power will forever define his fate as a warrior, a champion, a leader, a husband and, most importantly, as a man.

Beowulf is the oldest surviving epic poem in the English language. While Robert Zemeckis' film adaptation contains many of the poem's characters and themes – great monsters and heroes, the eternal conflict between good and evil, and a layered exploration of the nature of valor and glory – it is definitely not your high school teacher's Beowulf. "Frankly, nothing about the original poem appealed to me. I remember being assigned to read it in junior high school and not being able to understand it because it was in Old English,” admits Zemeckis. "It was one of those horrible assignments. I never really thought about it after that, never considered that it might make for an interesting story. But when I read the screenplay that Neil Gaiman and Roger Avary did, I was immediately captivated. I asked them, ‘What is it about this screenplay that makes this story so fascinating when the poem, to me, was so boring?' And their answer was, ‘Well, let's see, the poem was written somewhere between the 7th century and the 12th century. But the story had been told for centuries before that. The only people in the 7th century who knew how to write were monks. So, we can assume they did a lot of editing.' Neil and Roger explored deeper into the text, looking between the lines, questioning the holes in the source material, and adding back what they theorized the monks might have edited out (or added) and why. They managed to keep the essence of the poem but made it more accessible to a modern audience and made some revolutionary discoveries along the way. This should stir some debate in academia.”

As he worked with the writers to develop the story further, Zemeckis became a student of the subject in a way that would make his junior high school teacher proud. "Once I became intrigued by the script, I went back and re-read the poem, talked to Beowulf scholars and immersed myself in the legend. Many of the themes that are in Beowulf were lifted from the Bible – a heroic man's journey, the fight between good and evil and the price of glory. And you see that Beowulf is the foundation for all our modern heroes, from Conan to Superman to the Incredible Hulk.”

"What's so attractive about the Beowulf legend is that it is wrapped up in this great action-adventure-mythologicalepic world with monsters and seductresses, creatures that have certainly existed, at least in our subconscious, since ancient times,” adds producer Jack Rapke.

In retrospect, Gaiman and Avary seem the perfect talents for this project. Gaiman, as his biography notes, "… is listed in the Dictionary of Literacy Biography as one of the top ten living post-modern writers and is a prolific creator of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics and drama.” In particular, Gaiman is beloved by comic book fans for his DC Comics series San

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