Gladiator 2 Is Adding A Fellow Oscar Nominee To Join Lead Actor Paul Mescal

Barry Keoghan in The Banshees of Inisherin
(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)

While Everything Everywhere All At Once indisputably won the night during Sunday’s 95th Academy Awards, there were plenty of talented people who can now claim “Oscar-nominated” as a moniker for the rest of their days, including now not one, but two actors at the forefront of Ridley Scott’s upcoming Gladiator sequel. After Paul Mescal became the first actor to be cast in January, we’ve heard word that a fellow 2023 Oscar nominee is joining him in the epic.  

Barry Keoghan, who was recognized as a nominee in the Best Supporting Actor category in his first Oscar nomination for The Banshees of Inisherin, is reportedly in negotiations to star in Gladiator 2, per Deadline. The 30-year-old Irish actor has amassed an impressive resume in the past few years in particular, between starring as Druig in Eternals and playing the Joker to Robert Pattinson’s Batman, along with roles in Chernobyl, The Green Knight and Dunkirk

According to the report, Keoghan will portray the Roman emperor Publius Septimius Geta, who briefly ruled Rome alongside his father and older brother from 209 to 211. Geta is five emperors down the line from Commodus, who was played in the original Gladiator movie by Joaquin Phoenix. As we’ve previously learned, there will be a time jump in Gladiator 2, as it will follow Mescal as Lucius, the adult son of Connie Nielsen’s Lucilla and nephew of Commodus, following Spencer Treat Clark first playing the character as a preteen. 

Gladiator 2 will be helmed by Ridley Scott after his 2000 Roman epic became a big hit commercially and during the 73rd Academy Awards, when Gladiator led with 12 nominations and took home five awards, including Best Picture. Given the movie’s status in film history, it makes sense two recent first-time Oscar nominees would lead the project for a new generation of moviegoers. 

Paul Mescal, who is also Irish, is rumored to have won out the role of Lucius from Timothée Chalamet, who is yet another Oscar nominee. Mescal gained attention recently for his role in the miniseries Normal People before wowing Academy voters with his leading performance in Aftersun, for which he nabbed his first Oscar nomination. Mescal recently updated fans that he’d be getting to work on filming Gladiator 2 this summer. In the coming months, we expect many more big names will be added to the cast. 

In the meantime, you can certainly catch up on both of the Gladiator 2 actors' filmographies leading into their high-profile work with Ridley Scott. Barry Keoghan's performance in The Banshees of Inisherin in particular is worth your time, and the movie is streaming with an HBO Max subscription. Gladiator 2 is expected to be released in theaters on November 22, 2024, so keep checking back for updates on how it's coming along.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.