Denzel Washington loves a period piece and could enter one of his most epic sagas yet.
Washington is reportedly set to join the upcoming Gladiator sequel by director Ridley Scott. This would mark the first collaboration between Washington and Scott since their hit crime drama American Gangster. Deadline reports Washington is in early talks for a role in the film.
The Oscar-winning actor would appear opposite 2023 Oscar nominee Paul Mescal in the Ridley Scott project written by David Scarpa. Also rumored to be joining the cast is BAFTA-winning actor Barry Keoghan.
Once Mescal joined the project, Deadline notes Paramount Pictures President & CEO Brian Robbins and Co-Presidents Daria Cercek and Michael Ireland pushed hard for a big star to join the film and soon eyed Denzel Washington.
While the actor is known to be pretty selective with his roles, Deadline claims that “sources close to the project said he was excited about the bad-ass role Scott had written with him in mind.” After meeting with Scott, Washington saw the pitch for the film and “was all but on board.”
In the film, Mescal won’t serve as a recast for Crowe’s Maximus; instead, he plays Lucius, the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen), as a grown man. Lucius also was the nephew of Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), the son of Roman leader Marcus Aurelius who murdered his father and seized the throne. The story will take place years after the first film ends, in which Lucius and Maximus meet during the first film’s conclusion. Washington’s role is being kept under wraps.
The Gladiator sequel is set for release in late 2024.