• Barry Keoghan exited
    Gladiator 2
    due to scheduling conflicts, though has no ill feelings towards the project.
  • Keoghan was originally lined up to play the villain in Ridley Scott’s historical epic sequel, though previous reports indicated that he departed to star in Andrea Arnold’s
  • Though his experience with villainous roles would’ve made him a great fit, Joseph Quinn and Fred Hechinger’s castings could bring a more subversive approach.

After initially being set to continue his villainous streak on screen in Ridley Scott’s sequel, Barry Keoghan has now explained why he exited Gladiator 2. Development on a follow-up to Scott’s Oscar-winning 2000 movie has been trapped in development hell for decades, with steam finally gaining in 2018 as Paramount and Universal again partnered to produce the follow-up. The movie will be set a reported 15 years after the events of its predecessor, centering on an adult Lucius, now played by Paul Mescal, while Connie Nielsen would return as his mother.

During a recent interview with IndieWire about the Cannes release of his upcoming movie Bird, Keoghan was asked about the rumor of his leaving Gladiator 2 for the Andrea Arnold-helmed drama. Rather than explicitly state this to be the reason, the actor did confirm that scheduling conflicts forced him to bow out of the Scott historical epic sequel, though holds no ill feelings about having to exit the latter. Check out what Keoghan said below:

[Demurring] Um, conflicts, schedule conflicts. I am a massive fan of “Gladiator” and a massive fan of that cast. It’s a shame you can’t do both. But that happens in this game. You can’t do both.

Why Keoghan’s Exit Could Actually Work For Gladiator 2

At the time Keoghan’s negotiations were first revealed for Gladiator 2, the Irish actor found himself exploring a variety of roles on both the big and small screen, though was still best known for his more villainous turns. The year prior to his casting reports memorably saw him take on the role of the Joker with a cameo in Matt Reeves’ The Batman, which was met with much acclaim from critics and viewers alike for his quietly menacing and visually chilling approach to playing the DC villain. Though not confirmed to return for The Batman II, both Keoghan and Reeves have teased their desires to see him reprise the role.

With this and other such roles as Martin in The Killing of a Sacred Deer and Oliver in Saltburn, it’s easy to see why Keoghan was first courted to play Gladiator 2‘s villain, co-emperor Geta. That said, with Scott instead bringing in Fred Hechinger to play Geta and Stranger Things alum Joseph Quinn to play the other co-emperor, Caracalla, the sequel could actually find itself benefiting from these choices by allowing for a more subversive approach to depicting its key villains. While Quinn has already dispelled comparisons to Joaquin Phoenix’s Commodus in the original movie, audiences have nonetheless been curious how Scott could follow him up.


10 Most Exciting Things To Expect From Gladiator 2

Gladiator 2 will bring fans back to Ancient Rome for another brutal adventure, with several new and nostalgic elements ready to keep us “entertained.”

Up to this point, Quinn is generally better known for more protagonistic roles, namely Stranger Things‘ Eddie and being cast as the Human Torch in the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot. Hechinger, on the other hand, has a unique range of performances in his filmography, ranging from the lovable Simon in the Fear Street trilogy to the more villainous Ethan in The Woman in the Window. With both actors having exemplified both sides of the moral coin, it will be interesting to see just how Scott utilizes them for their Gladiator 2 roles.

The first Gladiator is available to stream on Paramount+.

Source: IndieWire

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