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Barry Keoghan, the Oscar-nominated actor who is right at home in a good period piece, is in talks to join Paul Mescal in Ridley Scott’s untitled Gladiator sequel, sources tell The Hollywood Reporter.
Scott is directing the sequel to his 2000 historical epic that starred Russell Crowe as Maximus, a former general forced into becoming a gladiator under the rule of the patricidal self-appointed Roman emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix). The movie won the Oscar for best picture, while Crowe took home the statuette for best actor, among the five wins for the lauded movie. Neither Crowe’s nor Phoenix’s character survived the proceedings.
The sequel will star Aftersun Oscar nominee Mescal, who is said to be playing Lucius, the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) and the nephew of Phoenix’s Commodus. (Spencer Treat Clark played the role in the original film.)
If a deal makes, Keoghan will play a character named Emperor Geta. (Geta was an actual Roman emperor, although the sequel’s story is not based on true events.)
Scott will reteam with All The Money in the World scribe David Scarpa, who also wrote the filmmaker’s upcoming Napoleon Bonaparte movie. Scott will produce with Michael Pruss via Scott Free, and Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher via Red Wagon Entertainment. Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are executive producing.
Scott is reassembling several key members of the behind-the-scenes team from his original, including director of photography John Mathieson, production designer Arthur Max and costume designer Janty Yates.
Paramount is behind the project, but Gladiator was a co-production with Universal, which will have the option to co-produce Gladiator 2 once the project is packaged. Paramount has set a Nov. 22, 2024 release for the epic.
Keoghan is coming off a best supporting actor Oscar nomination for the 1920s-set The Banshees of Inisherin, one of the acclaimed movie’s nine Academy Award nominations, and is known for his off-kilter work in films such as The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Eternals. He also had a small role in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, in which he was teased to be potential forerunner to The Joker. He is a favorite of the indie scene and is currently shooting Trey Edward Shults’ latest movie, which also stars Jenna Ortega and The Weeknd.
Keoghan is repped by WME, Entertainment 360 and Sloane Offer.
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