Roland Emmerich Gladiator Drama ‘Those About to Die’ Acquired by Prime Video in Multiple European Territories

Prime Video has acquired the Ancient Rome gladiator drama series “Those About to Die” in multiple European territories. The show is directed by “Independence Day” helmer Roland Emmerich and Marco Kreuzpaintner.

The 10-episode first season will debut exclusively on Prime Video in Germany, the U.K., France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Ireland, Poland, Turkey, Andorra, Monaco, Luxembourg and Belgium. As previously reported, streaming platform Peacock has secured the U.S. rights.

European rights are being handled by High End Productions, the joint venture set up by Herbert G. Kloiber and Constantin Film. AGC Studios holds rights for the rest of the world.

Servus TV has taken the free TV window for Austria. The free TV rights outside the exclusive distribution window on Prime Video are still being negotiated with various licensees across Europe. Further presales will be announced at a later date.

The show stars Anthony Hopkins as Emperor Vespasian, Iwan Rheon (“Game of Thrones”) as Tenax, Tom Hughes (“The English,” “Victoria”) as Titus Flavianus, Sara Martins (“Tell No One,” “Death in Paradise”) as Cala, Gabriella Pession (“Crossing Lines”) as Antonia, and Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson (“Game of Thrones”) as Viggo.

The series, inspired by the nonfiction book of the same name by Daniel P. Mannix, is written by Robert Rodat, who was Oscar-nominated for “Saving Private Ryan.”

It is set in Rome in 79 A.D. The city is wealthy, and slave laborers from the empire have taken over the menial work. The Roman population — bored, restless and increasingly violent — is kept in line mainly by two things: free food and spectacular entertainment, in the form of chariot racing and gladiator fights. The series delves into the world of the games—a world characterized by bloodlust, greed, the pursuit of power and corruption.

The races at Circus Maximus are controlled by four patrician-run factions, and shares in these groups are the most valuable things in Rome. As the taste in entertainment of the populace becomes more jaded and bloodthirsty, a specially designed stadium for gladiatorial combat is needed — the Colosseum. The scale of the stadium as well as the gladiatorial and animal combats is enormous. Meanwhile, the criminal underworld is flourishing, fueled by gambling.

The series is produced by Centropolis, Hollywood Gang and Street Entertainment. Executive producers are Emmerich, Harald Kloser (“2012,” “White House Down,” “Midway”), Gianni Nunnari (“The Departed,” “300”), Kloiber, Martin Moszkowicz, Berben, Jonas Bauer, Stuart Ford, Lourdes Diaz, Charles Holland, Kreuzpaintner and Rodat.

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