Academy Award nominee and BAFTA winner Barry Keoghan is circling his next high-profile role, with the actor in negotiations to join Ridley Scott’s untitled “Gladiator” sequel.
If the deal closes, Keoghan would join fellow 2023 Academy Award nominee Paul Mescal (a best actor nominee for “Aftersun”), who is set to star in the Paramount Pictures film. The sequel follows 2000’s blockbuster hit “Gladiator,” which was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won five, including best picture. It earned $460 million at the box office, and now Scott is returning to direct and produce the sequel.
The original “Gladiator” starred Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius, a Roman soldier forced into slavery who vows revenge against Commodus, played by Joaquin Phoenix. Since Maximus dies at the end of “Gladiator,” Mescal will play Lucius, the son of Maximus’ lover Lucilla (played by Connie Nielsen), in the sequel. Keoghan is in negotiations to play Emperor Geta.
Paramount has dated the film for November 22, 2024.
David Scarpa is penning the script for the sequel, which Scott will also produce with Michael Pruss via Scott Free, as well as Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher via Red Wagon Entertainment. Executive producers are Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald. Also returning from the original film are cinematographer John Mathieson, production designer Arthur Max and costume designer Janty Yates.
It’s been quite a year for Keoghan, who is fresh off his best supporting actor Oscar nomination and BAFTA win for his heartbreaking turn as Dominic in “The Banshees of Inisherin,” as well as a shocking cameo as the Joker in “The Batman.” The Irish actor is also part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to his role as Druig in “The Eternals,” but his breakout role came in 2017 with “The Killing of a Sacred Deer.”
With “Dunkirk,” Chernobyl” and “The Green Knight” also among his credits, Keoghan’s career is hotter than ever, as he recently signed on to star in the upcoming film from Trey Edward Shults (“Waves”) and The Weeknd, alongside Jenna Ortega. He’s already completed production on the Apple TV+ miniseries “Masters of the Air,” as well as Emerald Fennell’s sophomore feature “Saltburn” and the Irish drama “Bring Them Down” (in which, coincidentally, Keoghan replaced Mescal, who had to drop out of the role.)
Keoghan is represented by WME, Entertainment 360 and Sloane Offer. THR was first to report news of the actor’s involvement in the project.