The Batman and Eternals fan favorite Barry Keoghan is in talks to star in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator 2 in a key role. More than twenty years after his original film, Scott is forging forward with a new Gladiator starring Normal People breakout Paul Mescal as the lead. Russell Crowe starred in the first film as Maximus, a betrayed general forced into gladiatorial combat, where he seeks revenge for his murdered family. Gladiator was nominated for five Academy Awards, winning Best Picture and Best Actor for Crowe.
Now, with filming gradually approaching its start, The Hollywood Reporter reveals Keoghan is in talks to join Gladiator 2. If the negotiations go through, Keoghan would play a character named Emperor Geta. While Geta was a real emperor, the film is not said to be based on actual events. Keoghan is also fresh off an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in The Banshees of Inisherin, positioning his career for significant opportunities like Gladiator 2.
What To Expect From Gladiator 2
Scott is at the helm again for Gladiator 2 and directing from a script by David Scarpa, marking their latest collaboration after All the Money in the World and Scott’s yet-to-be-released Napoleon film. The director’s penchant for historical material, like The Last Duel and Kingdom of Heaven, illustrates the style Gladiator 2 will likely take on, mirroring the first film’s tone as it moves on with new characters. And while there is likely to be gladiatorial combat, as the title implies, the film may also stray from the swords and sandals epic for political discourse.
Mescal is playing an older Lucius, the son of Connie Nielsen’s Lucilla from the original film that Spencer Treat Clark initially portrayed. Crowe has confirmed that he is not returning for the sequel, but did offer some insight into the film’s plot, which is still under wraps. According to Crowe, Gladiator 2 takes place 30 years after the first movie, picking up with Lucius as the emperor. Earlier ideas for the sequel revolved around Lucius searching for the truth of his parentage, which could still play into the film.
If Keoghan joins the Gladiator 2 cast as a villain, it also sheds some light on what the film may have in store. With the focus on an older Lucius in a position of power, he is likely to be posed with a more significant threat, be it political or military. Keoghan has more than demonstrated his skills as a capable villain following his menacing Joker appearance in The Batman and films like The Killing of a Sacred Deer. Further developments surrounding the casting and plot of Gladiator 2 will be forthcoming as production nears, with a planned release in late 2024.
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