As a director, Stargate creator Roland Emmerich has been given the go-ahead by Peacock to make an ancient Roman gladiator epic called Those About to Die. It is based on Daniel Mannix’s 1958 historical non-fiction book of the same name, which Emmerich and Mannix will both executive produce. An adaptation of Robert Rodat’s novel, Those About to Die, will be executive produced by the writer, who will also serve as showrunner, according to TVline.com. It is said in the show’s logline that the cast consists of “different people spanning the various strata of Roman society where athletics, politics, and commerce interact and collide.”
Lisa Katz, NBCU’s president of scripted content, said in a statement that the upcoming series Those About to Die will approach “ancient Rome in a whole different way.” “There’s no other way to put it than this. In addition to the gladiators, chariot racing, royal intrigue, and dark criminal underworld, the series will contain “unexpected characters amidst palace intrigue and the dark criminal underworld,” Katz said. To develop this daring, action-packed series for Peacock audiences, we leaped at the opportunity to collaborate with the great creative brains of Roland Emmerich, Robert Rodat, Harald Kloser and AGC Studios and Gianni Nunnari’s Hollywood Gang.
While working on The Day After Tomorrow and 2012, Emmerich said why he was drawn to working on a film about the games played in the Colosseum in Roman times: “I’ve always been attracted by the Roman Empire, especially its massive games that delighted the public via spectacle at the colossal Colosseum,” Emmerich said. As a whole, this is a sports saga about the rise and fall of a group of individuals striving for something higher than themselves. AGC Studios and Peacock Productions are joining forces with High End Productions, Hollywood gangs, and Peacock to bring ancient sports to life for modern audiences. I can’t wait to see what we can create.” This series will be released globally by AGC International, a subsidiary of AGC Studios and a sister business of the show’s studio AGC Television, which will co-finance and distribute the series in Europe with High-End Productions. Stuart Ford, AGC’s CEO, and Lourdes Diaz, its Chief Content Officer, will both serve as executive producers.
In addition to Oliver Berben, Herbert G. Kloiber, Martin Moszkowicz, and Jonas Bauer, executive producers for the film include Gianni Nunnari of Hollywood Gang and Harald Kloser of Street Entertainment. High End’s Berben and Kloiber said, “The first TV show created by Roland Emmerich with an exceptional story and a perspective never seen before – that’s exactly why we founded High End Productions: A European story that can be seen around the world. We are ecstatic and glad to have discovered such a talented group of collaborators and thinkers to work with on this project.”