Barry Keoghan is Circling Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator” Sequel With Paul Mescal
Freshly minted Oscar-nominee and BAFTA-winner Barry Keoghan might be trading the misty islands of Ireland (where his award-winning performance in The Banshees of Inisherin was set) for ancient Rome.
Variety reports that Keoghan is in talks to join one of the most high-profile films currently being prepped—Ridley Scott’s Gladiator sequel. If the deal comes to pass, Keoghan would be joining another 2023 Oscar nominee and fellow Irishman, Paul Mescal (nominated for Best Actor for Aftersun), who is starring in the film for Paramount Pictures.
The sequel follows the events depicted in Scott’s masterful 2000 epic Gladiator, which starred Russell Crowe as Maximus, a former Roman General whose journey to topple the corrupt Emperor, Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), who murdered his family takes, finds him becoming a slave and then a gladiator, seeking his vengeance in the Coliseum. The film was a critical and commercial smash, earning $460 million at the box office and 12 Oscar nominations, winning five, including Best Picture. Scott is on board to both direct and produce. There are few films that are being as closely watched or will be as hotly anticipated as this.
Mescal is set to play Lucius, the son of Lucilla (played by Connie Nielsen), who was the Emperor’s sister (and the object of his depraved lust). She was also Maximus’s lover in the film. Keoghan is in negotiations to take on the role of Emperor Geta, which would give him ample opportunity to flaunt his abundant gifts. Keoghan is the kind of performer who truly disappears into his roles, from the lovable island misfit Dominic Kearney in Banshees to his brief but highly compelling turn as the demented Joker in The Batman. He’s an actor capable of charming, disarming, or deeply disturbing, as he proved in his breakout film, 2017’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer. He could bring a sense of playful menace, or a touch of the unhinged, to his portrayal of a Roman emperor.
The script is being written by David Scarpa, and some of the core crew from the original Gladiator are returning, including cinematographer John Mathieson, costume designer Janty Yates, and production designer Arthur Max.
Keoghan has a lot on his plate at the moment, with roles in Trey Edward Shults’s new film alongside Jenna Ortega and the Weekend, an Apple TV mini-series Masters of the Air, and Promising Young Woman writer/director Emerald Fennell’s second feature Saltburn.
We’ll be keeping an eye on the Gladiator sequel and will provide any updates, including if and when Keoghan dons the crown and becomes Emperor.
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Featured image: NEW YORK, NEW YORK – OCTOBER 10: Barry Keoghan attends Searchlight Pictures’ “The Banshees Of Inisherin” New York Screening at DGA Theater on October 10, 2022 in New York City. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)