Gladiator Sequel Adds Denzel Washington

Gladiator 2 is in negotiations to add Academy Award-winner Denzel Washington to the cast of the sequel. Deadline reports that Ridley Scott has lured his old friend back into the arena for another project. Famously, the duo brought American Gangster to cinemas years ago. Paul Mescal will be opposite Washington in Gladiator 2. This news comes after a flurry of casting news surrounding the Best Picture sequel. Just this week, The Batman star Barry Keoghan was also added to the cast in a key role. So, the star power is not lacking in Ridley Scott's upcoming epic. For a long time, it looked like Gladiator 2 would basically never happen. After all, with the first film's iconic ending it would be hard to imagine continuing the story in a manner similar to other big Hollywood franchises. But, the hook here makes sense.

Not too long ago, Russell Crowe actually spoke about the catalyst moment from the first Gladiator that informs this sequel. "Yeah we've had dinner and talked about it and all that stuff. So I know roughly how he's shaping the story," Crowe explained. "But yeah, if you remember, there was a young kid who wanted to beat the Gladiator, which leads to the 'My name is' speech. So that young kid has grown up, and he's now the Emperor. I don't know what else happens at that point, so that's the idea. So it's not a remake. And it's not a direct sequel. It's not like the day after, you know, 30 years later or something."

How Did Gladiator 2 Come Together?

The script for this movie has been in the works for a while from David Scarpa. Ridley Scott's Gladiator has only risen in esteem over the years, but all this sequel talk is pretty recent when you consider everything else getting rebooted and reimagined. Back in the spring of 2022, the script was completed and now things are speeding ahead with all of these castings making the rounds. Scott says that Gladiator 2 will be his next feature film. Back then, Kitbag was firmly front of mind, but it feels like things have completely changed tracks. Joaquin Phoenix may have teamed with him on that effort, but all this talk of reunions has all the primary stakeholders feeling nostalgic.

"First of all, I love doing period films. I love the research. I love to create sort of smells of the period," Scott previously explained to the press. "I think what we did with the first Gladiator…I don't like being critical of other things that have happened before, but I wasn't the biggest fan of Hollywood Roman epics, honestly. They felt artificial and so, when I was asked to consider a script, the script was not very good. But the person who gave it to me said, I want to show you one thing, and he picked up an illustration, this is true, it's called For Those About to Die by Gérôme. He holds it up. It's a picture of this big painting of the Coliseum, and in the corner there is this guy, about to tuna fork this poor bastard," Scott continued. "He's got this thing in his neck, and he's looking up for permission to kill. I went, bloody hell, that's never been done properly before. Never. I said, I'll do it. He said you will? I said yes. Did you want to read the script? I said no, and we went off and hit the ground running around the table, and evolved the new material."

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