Peacock Orders Epic Gladiator Series ‘Those About to Die,’ Roland Emmerich to Direct

Peacock has given a straight-to-series order to a gladiator drama series based on Daniel Mannix’s nonfiction book “Those About to Die.”

Robert Rodat, the screenwriter behind films like “Saving Private Ryan” and “The Patriot,” will write and executive produce. Roland Emmerich is onboard to direct and executive produce. Emmerich is no stranger to large-scale productions of this nature, having previously helmed films like “Independence Day” and “Moonfall.” This will be the first time Emmerich has directed for television.

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“Those About to Die” is described as a large-scale drama set within the spectacular, complex, and corrupt world of gladiatorial sports in Ancient Rome. The series introduces an ensemble of diverse characters across the many layers of Roman society where sports, politics, and business intersect and collide.

High End Productions, the company set up by Herbert G. Kloiber and Constantin Film to produce premium European fiction series for the international market, has acquired distribution rights in Europe and is set to co-finance the show with Peacock. AGC International, the content licensing and distribution arm of AGC Studios and sister company to the show’s studio AGC Television, will handle worldwide distribution rights outside of the HEP European footprint.

“The powerful Roman Empire has always fascinated me, especially its enormous games which entertained the masses through spectacle at the monumental Colosseum,” Emmerich said. “At its heart, this is a sports epic led by strong and diverse characters who explore paths to glory, falls from grace and a need to belong to something greater than oneself. Sports in these ancient times were as thrilling and massive then as they are today, and I’m excited to collaborate with my partners, Peacock, High End Productions, Hollywood Gang, and AGC Studios, in bringing this rich world of blood, sweat and tears to television.”

Along with Emmerich and Rodat, Gianni Nunnari of Hollywood Gang and Harald Kloser of Street Entertainment will also executive produce along with High End’s Oliver Berben, Herbert G. Kloiber, Martin Moszkowicz, and Jonas Bauer. AGC CEO Stuart Ford and Chief Creative Officer Lourdes Diaz also executive produce. Emmerich will executive produce under his Centropolis Entertainment banner.

“’Those About To Die’ takes on Ancient Rome in a completely new way,” said Lisa Katz, president of scripted content for NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “While the series will be epic in scope and have the spectacle of gladiators and chariot racing, it also has unexpected characters amidst palace intrigue and a dark criminal underworld. We jumped at the opportunity to partner with the unmatched creative minds of Roland Emmerich, Robert Rodat, Harald Kloser, AGC Studios and Gianni Nunnari’s Hollywood Gang, to create this bold, action-packed series for Peacock audiences.”

“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 very grateful and excited that we have found such great partners and creative minds for this extraordinary project,” said Berben and Kloiber.

(Pictured: Roland Emmerich)

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