Two-time Oscar winner Denzel Washington has signed on to join Paul Mescal in Ridley Scott‘s epic sequel to Gladiator, which won the Oscar for Best Picture.
Deadline broke the news, reporting that Washington’s role is being kept under wraps, though I understand that he may be playing the man who trains Mescal for gladiatorial battle. Oscar-nominated actor Barry Keoghan (The Banshees of Inisherin) is already on board to play the new Emperor.
David Scarpa wrote the script, which will take place 10-15 years after the events of Gladiator, and follow Lucius (Mescal), who was played in the original film by Spencer Treat Clark. The character was the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) and the nephew of Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) in the original film. It was Commodus who killed his father, Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius, seized his throne, and went head-to-head with Russell Crowe‘s Maximus in the gladiator ring, where both men perished, though Maximus left a strong impression on the young Lucius, who has obviously grown into a man in the sequel.
Scott will produce the Gladiator sequel under his Scott Free banner along with Michael Pruss, as well as Red Wagon’s Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher. Executive producers include Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald.
Washington won Oscars for Training Day and Glory, and he has earned seven additional acting nominations as well, in addition to a Best Picture nomination as a producer on Fences. He previously worked with Ridley Scott on American Gangster, and he’ll next be seen in The Equalizer 3, which hits theaters on Sept. 1. He’s represented by WME.