Mary Ann Bernal, author of The Briton and the Dane novels, is an avid history buff whose area of interest focuses on Ninth Century Anglo-Saxon Britain during the Viking Age.
Mary Ann Bernal: New Paul W.S. Anderson film 'Pompeii' explores fam...: By Meaghan Murphy Published February 13, 2014 FoxNews.com Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland) in the TriStar Pictures film "Pompeii...
Director Paul W.S. Anderson has a lifelong fascination with the killer volcano that inspired his new film, “Pompeii.”
Anderson became interested in the history of the Roman Empire when he was growing up in northern England, near the ruins of Hadrian’s Wall -- a 73-mile frontier built in 122 AD to protect Roman Britain from the Picts of Scotland.
“The idea of a city that was lost in time for 1,700 years and then rediscovered -- it just fascinated me,” Anderson said of his obsession with Pompeii, the port city in Italy’s Bay of Naples that was destroyed by a cataclysmic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. “I’ve been actively trying to make the movie for six years now.”
Vesuvius erupted with such force that its top lost more than 2,000 feet, and a mile-wide lava flow rushed down toward Pompeii at almost 80 miles per hour, destroying the city in just 12 hours.
“What happens is that there is a lot of gas in the magma as it’s coming up, and the magma is very viscous, so that gas can’t get out easily. So the pressure builds and builds until it just explodes, and all the magma turns to ash and small bits,” Rosaly Lopes of NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab explained.
“It’s very scary! It goes up, as the movie showed, in an eruption column, but that eruption column can become so dense that it collapses. Once it collapses, that flow comes downwards.”
But the ash and mud that covered Pompeii also preserved the bodies of its population.
'The Pompeians were technologically the most advanced -- but in the face of nature, it didn’t mean anything.'- Director Paul W.S. Anderson