Centurion is a 2010 British film directed by Neil Marshall about the ill-fated Ninth Legion marching north to Caledonia (Scotland) to wipe out the Picts and their leader.
Centurion ‘s Cast
- Michael Fassbender as Quintus Dias, a centurion; the only survivor of a Pictish attack on the Roman garrison at Inchtuthil.
- Dominic West as Titus Flavius Virilus, commander of the Ninth Legion.
- Olga Kurylenko as Etain, a warrior from the Brigantes tribe.
- Marshall described the character, “Etain is kind of revenge incarnate. Her family were butchered by the Romans, she had her tongue cut out by the Romans, she’s had a hell of a time and she’s out for Roman blood… She’s quite furious because one sense is not there — she can’t speak — all the others are more developed. She sees very well and hears very well: she is an animal!”
Centurion was written originally by director Neil Marshall under the working title Ninth Legion. The Ninth Legion, so the story goes, marched into Scotland from Hadrian’s Wall with over 4,000 men and disappeared. In recent years historians have disputed the fate of the legion; some believe they were disbanded, while others believe they were massacred in Germania or in the East fighting the Persians during the early years of the second century.
Marshall said of his take of the story, “It’s not meant to be historically perfect. I’m picking up on a legend and exploring it… it’s an action thriller.” The tide of academic opinion seems to be returning to the view that the Legion was probably wiped out in Britain. In a recent book, Dr Miles Russell of Bournemouth University observes that there is strong evidence for a catastrophic British war resulting in the annihilation of the legion early in the reign of Hadrian.
Filming began toward the end of February 2009. Filming locations included the Scottish locations Badenoch, Strathspey, and Glenfeshie Estate in the Cairngorms. Filming also took place at Ealing Studios in London and in Surrey locations, such as Alice Holt Forest and Hurtwood Forest in the Surrey Hills.
Historical reenactment groups were enlisted to play Picts and Roman soldiers in the practical filming at Badenoch and Strathspey. Filming was completed in March, after seven weeks.