EXCLUSIVE: Ridley Scott and Steven Knight are teaming for Roads to Freedom, a 10-episode epic that will tell the story of World War II from several international perspectives, based on Sir Antony Beevor’s books.
The intention is to tell the story using fresh and unique perspectives. While most Hollywood war films have focused on the American and British effort, Roads to Freedom will portray the brutal realities from multiple viewpoints, with characters not only from the U.S. and UK but also from Russia, Germany, France and other countries across the globe. That includes women, and children struggling to survive. The emphasis is on humanity, the characters bound together by one dramatic story. Some of the story lines will be discomforting, but heroic, and the race between East and West to capture Berlin will shed light on what became the foundations of the Cold War.
Scott plans to direct the launch episode of the series, and Knight and Beevor will write all episodes. CAA is spearheading the sale process and is already fielding approaches from a handful of equity finance players interested in putting together the series as a global co-production, sources said.
The roster of executive producers is headed by Scott and Knight and Beevor. The series was originated and developed by executive producers PJ van Sandwijk and Michael Lesslie through Storyteller Productions. David W. Zucker and Marina Brackenbury will also executive produce for Scott Free.
Beevor’s books have sold more than 8 million copies in 33 languages and include such international bestsellers as D-Day – The Battle for Normandy, Paris After the Liberation, Arnhem – The Battle for the Bridges, Ardennes 1944 – Hitler’s Last Gamble, Berlin – The Downfall 1945, A Writer at War – Vasily Grossman with the Red Army, and The Second World War.
Scott has been on a most prolific pace. He wrapped The Last Duel during the pandemic, moving quickly to direct House of Gucci, which he’s shooting now, and will move right on to direct Kitbag, the epic that has Joaquin Phoenix playing Napoleon Bonaparte and Jodie Comer playing Josephine, for Apple.
Still, the WWII series is a major priority and deeply personal project for Scott, who’ll draw on vivid personal recollections of his childhood in wartime Britain and his journey to post-war Germany, where his father played a crucial role in rebuilding the country.
His Scott Free is separately teamed with Knight on an upcoming adaptation of Charles Dickens’ classic Great Expectations for FX/BBC1. Other Scott Free TV productions include the investigative drama series The Beast Must Die starring Jared Harris, which will premiere this spring on the UK’s Britbox and AMC in the U.S. The company is currently filming Season 2 of Raised By Wolves, the HBO Max sci-fi series that marked Scott’s helming debut in American TV, as well as The Good Fight for Paramount+, the anthology series Jigsaw for Netflix and a new season of The Hot Zone for National Geographic.
Knight is coming off writing and exec producing the Doug Liman-directed pandemic heist pic Locked Down and exec producing his Apple TV+ series creation See, which stars Jason Momoa. Storyteller hatched the Tom Cruise & Doug Liman project that will be made by Universal, shooting in space through NASA and SpaceX, as well as the Ron Howard-directed Thirteen Lives and Locked Down.
Lesslie is currently creating and showrunning the new version of Battlestar Galactica as a flagship show for Peacock, alongside adapting Hamlet for Oscar-nominated Sound of Metal star Riz Ahmed, and writing an original West End play for Michael Grandage.
This is an accomplished crew taking on the ambitious project; stay tuned to see who will finance and broadcast it.