Gladiator Sequel Adds Barry Keoghan in Key Role

Barry Keoghan has been cast in Ridley Scott's forthcoming sequel to 2000's Gladiator. The star, who has appeared in movies like Dunkirk, The Eternals, and The Batman, will play Emperor Geta, characterized as a key role in the film, according to The Hollywood Reporter, who broke the casting news. He will star opposite Paul Mescal, best known for his role in Normal People, who was tapped to head up the sequel back in February, with Scott set to return to direct from a script by David Scarpa. It has been about five years since serious reports about a sequel to Ridley Scott's Gladiator started to circulate, with the script being finished last spring.

Geta was the name of an actual Roman emperor, but like the first film, the sequel is not based on a true story. Russell Crowe, who headlined the original, will not come back, since his character died at the end of the film. Mescal will be playing Lucius, the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen). Now a grown man, Lucius has grown up with admiration for Maximus (Crowe's character), who saved him and his mother.

"Yeah we've had dinner and talked about it and all that stuff. So I know roughly how he's shaping the story," Crowe said in a recent interview. "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."

Mescal recently revealed that he is in the process of beefing up for the part, and that they plan to film the long-in-development sequel this year.  

"First of all, I love doing period films. I love the research. I love to create sort of smells of the period," Scott said back in November."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 added. "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."

Scott is set to direct and produce the film, along with Scott Free President Michael Pruss, and Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher from Red Wagon Entertainment. Also returning from the original film are Janty Yates (Costume Designer) and Arthur Max (Production Designer).