Peacock is breaking into the swords and sandals biz, ordering to series a “large scale” adaptation of Daniel Mannix’s Roman Gladiator historical tome Those About to Die.
A pair of blockbuster EPs will shepherd the project. Stargate overlord Roland Emmerich (whose film work includes Moonfall, Independence Day, The Day After Tomorrow) will direct with Falling Skies creator Robert Rodat (whose big-screen work includes Saving Private Ryan and The Patriot) handling writing duties.
Those About to Die is “set within the spectacular, complex, and corrupt world of gladiatorial sports in Ancient Rome,” per the logline provided by Peacock. “The series introduces an ensemble of diverse characters across the many layers of Roman society where sports, politics, and business intersect and collide.”
Lisa Katz, president scripted content at NBCUniversal, said in a statement that the Those About to Die will take on “Ancient Rome in a completely new way,” adding, “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.”
Added Emmerich: “The powerful Roman Empire has always fascinated me, especially its enormous games which entertained the masses through spectacle at the monumental Colosseum. 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.”