Anthony Hopkins To Be A Roman Emperor In Roland Emmerich’s Gladiator Series Those About To Die

Anthony Hopkins

by James White |
Published on

Based on the likes of [10,000 BC]() and Anonymous, Roland Emmerich might not be the person you come to for strict historical accuracy in projects. But he's certainly someone you can turn to for epic scale and action. We already knew he was planning Roman gladiator TV series Those About To Die and he's locked in his first cast member: Anthony Hopkins.

The series, which will see Emmerich directing and The Patriot's Robert Rodat writing and executive producing, is an epic drama set in the complex and corrupt world of spectacle-driven gladiatorial competition. The series introduces 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. Rodat is taking inspiration from Daniel Mannix's eponymous nonfiction tome.

Hopkins will play Vespasian, the Emperor of Rome and head of the Flavian bloodline. He is battle tested, a rural upstart who claimed his throne after victory in a bloody ten-year civil war. But now he's aging and is despised by the Patricians jockeying for position in the Empire and looking to supplant his heirs to the throne the first chance they get.

"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," Emmerich said when the project was first announced. "Sports in these ancient times were as thrilling and massive then as they are today, and I'm excited to bring this rich world of blood, sweat and tears to television."

In the States at least, the show will be shown on Peacock. And while there is the streaming service in the UK, the rights might be headed elsewhere.


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