Anthony Hopkins has boarded Roland Emmerich’s gladiator series “Those About to Die.” The Oscar winner will play Emperor Vespasian in the Peacock drama, which is being produced by AGC Television and is written by Oscar-nominated “Saving Private Ryan” writer Robert Rodat.
Peacock handed a straight-to-series order for “Those About to Die” last summer. Set in the “complex and corrupt” world of gladiatorial competition, the show follows an ensemble of characters from all parts of Roman society who collide in the arena.
Hopkins is the first major cast member announced for the project. He will play Vespasian, a Roman emperor and rural upstart who claimed his throne after victory in a bloody ten-year civil war. An official synopsis describes the ageing Vespasian as “despised by the Patricians jockeying for position in the Empire and looking to supplant his heirs to the throne the first chance they get.”
In addition to directing, “Moonfall” director Emmerich will also executive produce alongside Rodat. Hollywood Gang’s Gianni Nunnari and Street Entertainment’s Harald Kloser will also executive produce with High End’s Herbert G. Kloiber, Martin Moszkowicz, Oliver Berben and Jonas Bauer. AGC CEO Stuart Ford and chief content officer Lourdes Diaz also executive produce.
Italian co-producer Wild Side Productions (“The Young Pope,” “My Brilliant Friend”) will provide local production services. The show will be shot at Rome’s storied Cinecittà Studios.
Co-financing comes from High End Productions, the recently launched Vienna-based distribution and financing partnership between Herbert Kloiber Sr. and Germany’s Constantin Entertainment, which has acquired distribution rights in Europe. AGC International represents remaining worldwide rights and will shop the series overseas.
Hopkins in 2021 won an Oscar for his performance in “The Father” and previous won the best actor Academy Award for “Silence of the Lambs.” He has also been Oscar nominated for his roles in “The Remains of the Day,” “Nixon,” “The Two Popes” and “Amistad.”
The deal was negotiated by Mitch Smelkinson of Goodman Genow Schenkman Smelkinson + Christopher, LLP and by Director of Legal and Business Affairs Conor McElroy on behalf of AGC.
Hopkins is repped by CAA and Independent Talent Group.