EXCLUSIVE: Paramount’s sequel to the Oscar-winning hit Gladiator is rounding out its cast as sources tell Deadline the untitled pic has added May Calamawy, Lior Raz, Derek Jacobi, Peter Mensah and Matt Lucas.
Also in talks to join the remaining cast is Fred Hechinger (The White Lotus), who is in negotiations to play Emperor Geta. Barry Keoghan was in negotiations to play the Geta character, but scheduling conflicts forced him to fall out of the project.
The newest cast members join the previously announced ensemble that includes Paul Mescal in the titular role, Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Joseph Quinn, and Connie Nielsen. Like Nielsen, who will be reprising her role as Lucilla, Jacobi will also be one of the few legacy players returning from the original, reprising his role as Gracchus. Ridley Scott is back to direct, with David Scarpa penning the script.
The new film follows the 2000 blockbuster Gladiator, which earned more than $460 million at the worldwide box office and was nominated for 12 Oscars, winning five including Best Picture.
The role of Maximus, the Roman general-turned-gladiator, was a career-changer for Russell Crowe, not only delivering him the Best Actor Oscar but also launching him to the top of every leading-man list. Once it was made clear last year that the sequel would be Scott’s next movie, every male actor in town that fit the profile began chasing the part.
Scott also will produce, along with Scott Free president Michael Pruss as well as Doug Wick & Lucy Fisher via Red Wagon Entertainment. Walter Parkes and Laurie MacDonald are exec producing. Also returning from the original film are director of photography John Mathieson, production designer Arthur Max and costume designer Janty Yates. Paramount Pictures has dated the film for November 22, 2024.
The first film was a co-production between Universal and DreamWorks, and while DreamWorks will not be involved in the sequel, Universal has the right to partner again when the project is packaged.
While many of the leading roles were straight offers, Scott wanted to do a similar search he did for the Mescal part for the role that Calamawy ultimately landed. Given the importance of the character to the story, Scott wanted a thorough search, and following multiple auditions, Calamawy landed the part.
Her breakout role came last year in Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight series, starring opposite Oscar Isaac in the Disney+ series. Marvel is expected to have big plans for her going forward, and she can also be seen next in Duke Johnson’s The Actor opposite Andre Holland.
Best known for his breakout role in Season 1 of HBO’s The White Lotus, Hechinger has another high-profile project in Marvel’s Kraven the Hunter, bowing in October. He also recently was seen in Scott Cooper’s Pale Blue Eye and Hulu’s Pam & Tommy.
Best known for comedies like Bridesmaids, Lucas next can be seen in Warner Bros. Wonka starring Timothée Chalamet.
Best known for his hit Netflix show Fauda, Raz can be seen next in Apple’s anthology series The Crowded Room opposite Tom Holland. He also was seen in Operation Finale. Jacobi can be seen on the Amazon series Good Omens. Mensah’s credits include Avatar and The 300 films.
Calamawy is repped by WME and Entertainment 360, Hechinger is repped by A3 Artists and Brillstein Entertainment Partners, Raz is repped by UTA and Artists First, Jacobi is repped by Independent Talent Group, Mensah is repped by Artists and Representatives and Cheri Barner Management, and Lucas is repped by WME.