Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter

Those About To Die – Anthony Hopkins cast as Roman Emperor Vespasian

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The veteran actor will play the Emperor of Roman in a forthcoming gladiator series.  

An epic period drama demands heavyweight casting, so it’s great to see Sir Anthony Hopkins signed up for an Imperial role. According to Deadline, he’s going to play the Roman Emperor Vespasian in the forthcoming drama Those About To Die.

The show is takes place inside the spectacular, complex and corrupt world of gladiatorial sports, drawing inspiration from Daniel Mannix’s 1958 non-fiction book. It’s apparently the tome which also inspired the movie Gladiator.

Those About To Die book cover

Roland Emmerich (Stargate, Independence Day) is making Those About To Die for the US streamer Peacock. Filming begins in March at Rome’s famous Cinecittà Studios.

In the show, Hopkins’ Emperor Vespasian is a rural upstart who claimed his throne in a bloody 10-year civil war. While he’s head of the Flavian bloodline, Vespasian is aging and despised by the Patricians jockeying for position; rival seek to supplant his heirs to the throne the first chance they get.

With only Anthony Hopkins announced so far, we know that Roland Emmerich is expected to direct and produce, while writer Robert Rodat (Saving Private Ryan, Thor: The Dark World) is adapting the book.

Those About to Die scored a straight-to-series order by Peacock last year. It comes from AGC Television and is co-financed by High End Productions, the company set up by Herbert G. Kloiber and Constantin Film, which has distribution rights in Europe. Given that, there’s a chance it might land on a major UK channel.

We’ll keep you posted.