Peacock gave a straight-to-series order to an ancient Roman gladiator epic Those About to Die, with Stargate creator Roland Emmerich helming as director. The drama series is a large-scale adaptation of the 1958 historical non-fiction book of the same name by Daniel Mannix, who will also executive produce the show alongside Emmerich.
Those About to Die is being adapted by Robert Rodat, who will also executive produce for the series set within the intricate and intense world of gladiator sports in Ancient Rome, per TVline. The logline provided by the NBC Universal streamer says the series has an ensemble cast made up of “diverse characters across the many layers of Roman society where sports, politics, and business intersect and collide.”
In a statement regarding the Those About to Die series, Lisa Katz, the president of scripted content at NBCU, said the show will take on “Ancient Rome in a completely new way”:
“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,” Katz added. “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.”
Emmerich – who also worked on other spectacles such as The Day After Tomorrow and 2012 – shared in a statement what fascinated him about working on a spectacle about the games played at the Colosseum during the Roman Empire:
“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.”
AGC International, the content licensing and distribution arm of AGC Studios and sister company to the show’s studio AGC Television, is handling worldwide distribution rights for the Those About to Die series, which will be co-financed and distributed in Europe by High End Productions. The AGC CEO Stuart Ford and Chief Content Officer Lourdes Diaz will also executive produce the anticipated epic. Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari as well as Street Entertainment’s Harald Kloser are set to executive produce alongside High End’s Oliver Berben, Herbert G. Kloiber, Martin Moszkowicz, and Jonas Bauer.
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 very grateful and excited that we have found such great partners and creative minds for this extraordinary project.”