Peacock announced an outright order on Tuesday for a gladiatorial drama featuring independence Day director Roland Emmerich.
Who are about to die is based on author Daniel Mannix’s book of the same name, and the show is described as “a full-scale drama set in the spectacular, complex and corrupt world of gladiatorial sports in ancient Rome. The series introduces an ensemble of diverse characters to the many strata of Roman society where sports, politics and business intersect and collide.”
Emmerich will direct and executive produce, while Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan) is the show runner.
“The mighty Roman Empire has always fascinated me, especially the huge games that entertained the masses through spectacle in the monumental Colosseum,” says Emmerich. “At its core, this is a sports epic led by strong and diverse characters who explore paths to glory, fall from grace and have a need to belong to something bigger than yourself. Sports in ancient times was just as exciting and huge then as it is now, and I’m excited to be working with my partners, Peacock, High End Productions, Hollywood Gang and AGC Studios, to bring this rich world of blood, sweat and tears to the television.”
“Who are about to die tackles ancient Rome in a whole new way,” added Lisa Katz, president of scripted content at NBCUniversal Television and Streaming. “While the series will be epic in scope and feature the spectacle of gladiators and chariot races, it will also feature unexpected characters amid palace intrigue and a dark criminal underworld.”
Other executive producers of the project include Harald Kloser, Gianni Nunnari, Oliver Berben, Herbert G. Kloiber, Martin Moszkowicz, Jonas Bauer, Stuart Ford and Lourdes Diaz.
The project is by AGC Studios and produced by Centropolis Entertainment, Hollywood Gang Productions and Street Entertainment.
High End Productions, a company founded by Herbert G. Kloiber and Constantin Film to produce high quality European fiction series for the international market, has acquired distribution rights in Europe and is co-financing the show with Peacock.