Gladiator sequel to star May Calamawy, Lior Raz, Derek Jacobi and others, alongside Paul Mescal

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The main cast for the much-anticipated Gladiator sequel is taking shape following the latest rounds of hires by famed director Ridley Scott and his casting crew.

Deadline is reporting that May Calamawy, Lior Raz, Derek Jacobi, Peter Mensah and Matt Lucas are among the actors recently hired to star in the still untitled film that’s said to take place some 30 years after the original storyline that starred Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix.

Plus, Fred Hechinger could soon be coming onboard, as he and his team are currently in talks to play Emperor Geta, after Barry Keoghan had to take himself out of the running for the unspecified role due to scheduling conflicts.

The new cast members join an ensemble that had already included Irish actor Paul Mescal, 27, in the lead role of Lucius, who’s the son of Lucilla, who was played by Connie Nielsen in the original 2000 film.

Like Jacobi, who’s reprising his role as Gracchus, Nielson has been tapped to be one of the few legacy players returning to the cast, alongside other previously announced actors such as Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal and Joseph Quinn.

Considered to be among the best films of the 2000s, Gladiator was a massive hit with fans, earning more than $503 million at the worldwide box office against a $103 million budget.

Most critics praised the production, most notably the acting of Crowe and Phoenix, which led to 12 Academy Award nominations, ultimately winning five, including the coveted Best Picture Oscar and Best Actor for Crowe.

In the wake of Gladiator’s success, Crowe would see his star rise to the top of nearly everybody’s A-list in Hollywood and beyond.

Word of a sequel with Ridley Scott at the helm started spreading last year, which in turn caught the attention of male actors all over the world that fit the profile.

Serving double duty as producer and director, Scott is working from a script by David Scarpa, who’s best known for writing The Last Castle (2001), The Day The Earth Stood Still (2008), All The Money In The World (2017) and the upcoming historical drama film Napoleon (2023) that’s being produced and directed by Scott, which is slated to drop in November. 

Wanting to do a thorough search for the most important main characters, Calamawy ultimately landed her role after multiple auditions.

Her breakout role came last year in Marvel Studios’ Moon Knight series, starring opposite Oscar Isaac in the Disney+ series.

The Bahrain native, 36, is also known for her ongoing role in the Hulu comedy-drama series Ramy that also stars Ramy Youssef, Hiam Abbass, Amr Waked, Dave Merheje, and Mohammed Amer.

Back onboard: Ridley Scott, 85, returns as producer and director of the still untitled Gladiator sequel; he is pictured on the set of the original film in 1999

Back onboard: Ridley Scott, 85, returns as producer and director of the still untitled Gladiator sequel; he is pictured on the set of the original film in 1999

Leading man: The new cast members join an ensemble that had already includes Irish actor Paul Mescal, 27, in the lead role of Lucius, who's the son of Lucilla, who was played by Connie Nielsen in the original 2000 film

Leading man: The new cast members join an ensemble that had already includes Irish actor Paul Mescal, 27, in the lead role of Lucius, who’s the son of Lucilla, who was played by Connie Nielsen in the original 2000 film

As for the other new hires: Raz, 51, is more recognizable to his fans in his native Israel for the role in the political thriller series Fauda (2015-present) and Hit & Run (2021).

Jacobi, 84, is an English actor with a long and storied career in film, television and the theater that dates back to 1959. His has received numerous accolades over the decades including a BAFTA, two Olivier Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, Two Screen Actors Guild Awards and a Tony Award.

Mensah, 63, is a Ghanaian English actor with credit such as Tears Of The Sun (2003), Hildago (2004), 300 (2006) and The Incredible Hulk (2008). 

And Lucas, 49, gained prominence as an actor with his roles in the BBC sketch comedy series Little Britain (2003-2006 )and Come Fly With Me (2010-2011), as well as films Alice In Wonderland (2010) and Bridesmaids (2011).

Best known for his breakout role in season one of HBO’s The White Lotus, Hechinger, 24, made his film debut in the coming-of-age dramedy Eighth Grade (2018) ,and also starred in the drama film Human Capital (2019).

Epic hit: After revealing he is not appearing in the sequel, Russell Crowe revealed during a podcast in January that the storyline takes place some 30 years after the original film; both Crowe and co-star Joaquin Phoenix were praised for their performances in the hit 2000 film, which included a Best Actor Oscar for Crowe

Epic hit: After revealing he is not appearing in the sequel, Russell Crowe revealed during a podcast in January that the storyline takes place some 30 years after the original film; both Crowe and co-star Joaquin Phoenix were praised for their performances in the hit 2000 film, which included a Best Actor Oscar for Crowe

Earlier this year, Russell Crowe confirmed he would not be be appearing in the long-awaited sequel to Gladiator, but he did give a few hints at the plot after speaking with Scott over dinner.

While he didn’t give much away, he did reveal that the story centers on Mescal’s character Lucius during an appearance on the Fitzy and Wippa podcast.

‘If you remember, there was a young kid who wanted to beat the Gladiator, which leads to the “My name is” speech,’ he said of the original film, adding, ‘So that young kid has grown up, and he’s now the Emperor.’ 

He went on to sum things up by explaining: ‘So it’s not a remake. And it’s not a direct sequel. It’s not like the day after, you know, 30 years later or something. And then the situation arises you know.’ 

So far, there’s no official word on when the Gladiator sequel will begin shooting principal photography. 

 

 

 

 

 



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