Roland Emmerich‘s highly anticipated epic series, Those About To Die has unveiled its first major casting announcement. AGC Television, the studio behind the production today announced that two-time Academy Award and Emmy winner, Anthony Hopkins has been cast to play a key role in the upcoming series which is set to begin production early this spring at the iconic Cinecitta Studios in Rome.
Those About To Die is being developed as a large-scale series adaptation of the 1958 Daniel Mannix non-fiction book of the same name. The story which will be adapted for the screen by celebrated Academy Award-nominated writer Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) will be set within the fierce, complex, and corrupt world of Ancient Rome’s gladiatorial sports. The show’s official logline further reveals that the series will feature “an ensemble of diverse characters from all parts of Roman society who collide at the intersection of sports, politics, and dynasties of the ancient world.”
Hopkins will be stepping into the role of Emperor Vespasian, the last of the four revered emperors who ruled during the Year of the Four Emperors when Rome was in the middle of her first civil war. Vespasian, the head of the Flavian bloodline, was regarded as an intelligent leader who oversaw a period of political stability in Rome through fiscal reforms and further consolidation of the ancient empire. The emperor’s meteoric rise to the throne of Rome was achieved after a bloody 10-year civil war. The series will center on his final years in power as an aging leader where the battle for his succession ensues and sees him being “despised by the Patricians jockeying for position in the Empire and looking to supplant his heirs to the throne the first chance they get.”
Hopkins is a venerated industry veteran with many stars on his badge. He is a two-time Academy Award, four-time BAFTA Award, and twice Emmy winner. His Oscars came for his roles in The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and 2020’s The Father. Some of his best-known small screen credits include War and Peace, The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case (1976), The Bunker (1981), King Lear (2018), and the HBO western series, Westworld. His recent film credits include Armageddon Time and The Son. The Welsh actor is currently filming the biographical film, One Life as well as Zack Snyder‘s space opera film, Rebel Moon.
Those About to Die will be executive produced by Emmerich, and Rodat who doubles as showrunner. Other executive producers include Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari (300), Street Entertainment’s Harald Kloser (Independence Day: Resurgence) High End’s Herbert G. Kloiber, Martin Moszkowicz, Oliver Berben, and Jonas Bauer. Stuart Ford, the CEO of AGC as well as the studio’s Chief Content Officer Lourdes Diaz also executive produce.
Peacock handles US rights to the series while Germany’s Constantin Entertainment holds the distribution rights in Europe
Those About To Die will kick off principal photography in March and as such, more casting news is expected to emerge in the coming weeks.