Ridley Scott Prepping World War II Limited Series With Steven Knight

The show is said to be deeply personal for Scott, who plans to draw on memories of his own childhood in wartime Britain.


Ridley Scott is reteaming with Steven Knight to executive produce an epic limited series titled Roads to Freedom that will tell the story of World War II from multiple perspectives around the globe.

Deadline broke the news, reporting that Roads to Freedom will be based on the books of Sir Antony Beevor, who will co-write the 10-episode series with Knight. Scott plans to get the show off to a hot start by directing the first episode in between the many features he has in the works.

The series is said to be deeply personal for Scott, who plans to draw on memories of his own childhood in wartime Britain and his subsequent journey to post-war Germany, where his father played a crucial role in rebuilding the country.

Most WWII movies and TV shows we’re exposed to are told from either the American or British points of view, but Roads to Freedom aims to expand the scope of that perspective by including unique characters from Russia, France and Germany, where the race between East and West to capture Berlin set the foundation for the Cold War of the ’80s. The series will emphasize heroism and humanity, though it will inevitably lay bare the brutal horrors of war as it tells the stories of the men, women and children who struggle to survive in its wake.

Image via Sony Pictures

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What’s interesting about this project and the timing of its announcement in the trades is that it doesn’t have financing in place yet, let alone distribution from a network or streamer. Instead, CAA is fielding inquiries from “equity finance players” interested in putting it together as a global co-production, according to Deadline.

Scott and Knight will executive produce alongside David W. Zucker and Marina Brackenbury of Scott Free, as well as PJ van Sandwijk and Michael Lesslie of Storyteller Productions, which originated and developed the project.

Beevor’s books have sold more than eight million copies in 33 languages, so he knows this territory as well as anyone, and he’ll be working with one of the industry’s top scribes in Knight, the man behind Peaky Blinders and Locke. As for Lesslie, he’s hard at work on Peacock’s Battlestar Galactica series as well as an adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books. Meanwhile, Storyteller hatched the big-budget Universal/NASA/SpaceX movie that Tom Cruise will shoot in space, as well as Ron Howard‘s upcoming Thai cave rescue film Thirteen Lives.

Ridley Scott is no stranger to avid Collider readers since it seems like we write about him every other week. So it goes for the prolific director, who has not slowed down one bit and is still going strong in his 80’s. He just wrapped The Last Duel with Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer and Ben Affleck, and he’s currently shooting House of Gucci starring Driver and Lady Gaga. After that, he’ll start filming Apple’s Napoleon Bonaparte movie Kitbag starring Joaquin Phoenix and Comer. And did I mention that he’s already working with Knight on an upcoming adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic Great Expectations for FX? Sir Ridley is like the Energizer Bunny in that he just keeps going and going and going, and thank God for that, because he’s still one of the best in the biz.

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