Paul W.S. Anderson seemingly enjoyed his time working in the historical adventure genre with his upcoming adaptation of The Three Musketeers – enough so that the Resident Evil franchise writer/director has signed on to helm another period flick titled Pompeii, which (naturally) deals with the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and subsequent destruction of the titular Roman city.

Anderson reportedly plans to begin shooting Pompeii in spring of 2012; however, with Resident Evil 5 currently slated to hit theaters in September 2012, that could mean he won’t be directing the latter film (more on that later).

THR has the scoop on Pompeii, a big-budget bit of spectacle that takes place in the summer of 79 A.D. and features a Titanicstyle romance between the slave of a shipping tycoon and his master’s daughter. Although said slave is on a ship headed for Naples when Mt. Vesuvius blows its top, he sets out to rescue both his best friend – a gladiator – and the love of his life from the ensuing onslaught of fire, lava, and ash.

Summit has already grabbed U.S. distribution rights for Pompeii, which is being scripted by writing duo Lee and Janet Scott Batchler (Batman Forever). The film reads on paper as being pretty conventional Hollywood historical epic fare, complete with the standard romantic subplot, dramatic setting, and loads of destructive effects work. So take all that as you will.

The big question which Anderson’s involvement with Pompeii raises is this: What does this mean for the fifth installment in the Resident Evil franchise? Anderson has shown no serious signs of disinterest in the series, and was even looking for fan feedback to help him better craft the plot of the next movie. So it seems he is very much working behind-the-scenes on the newest chapter in the video game movie saga.

Chances (right now) are good that Anderson will still end up writing the Resident Evil 5 screenplay, but will hand off the directorial reigns to another filmmaker. He’s been responsible for scripting all of the films in the series so far, but only directed the first movie and last year’s Resident Evil: Afterlife. So, depending on whether you prefer the Resident Evil flicks that featured Anderson in the director’s chair or not, this could be seen as either potentially good or less-than-encouraging news.

Anderson is currently handling post-production duties on The Three Musketeers, so it’s highly unlikely he’ll try and direct Resident Evil 5 before setting to work on Pompeii. He could certainly attempt to handle the task, but really – aren’t we all in agreement that the LAST thing the Resident Evil franchise needs is a fourth sequel that’s rushed through production?

Source: THR