Ridley Scott has turned to his American Gangster star Denzel Washington for Gladiator 2. According to Deadline, Washington is in final negotiations. The movie will also feature Paul Mescal and Barry Keoghan. Mescal will play Lucius, the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen), and the nephew of Joaquin Phoenix’s Emperor Commodus.
While Crowe will not be involved in the film, the story will be kickstarted by the effect Maximus (Russell Crowe) had on young Lucius when he sacrificed himself to save Lucius and his mother from the vengeful Commodus. Outside of this, nothing is known about the plot or the role Washington will play.
DreamWorks and Universal teamed up for the original. DreamWorks was sold to Paramount in 2006 following some financial difficulties, which halted the development of Gladiator 2 for many years. This project will be a joint-venture production between Paramount, Scott Free Productions, and Parkes/MacDonald Productions with Universal as a co-financing partner.
In September 2021, Scott stated that the script was once again being worked on with his intention being to direct the sequel upon the completion of production on his current project, Napoleon.
David Scarpa wrote the script with Scott, Michael Pruss, Doug Wick & Lucy Fisher producing. Original costume designer Janty Yates and production designer Arthur Max are also returning for Gladiator 2.
The original Gladiator, back in 2000, earned nearly $500 million on a $100 million budget and was nominated for twelve Academy Awards, winning five including Best Picture.
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