Denzel Washington’s Role In ‘Gladiator 2’ Has Been Revealed
— Updated on 27 November 2023

Denzel Washington’s Role In ‘Gladiator 2’ Has Been Revealed

— Updated on 27 November 2023
Garry Lu
WORDS BY
Garry Lu

Earlier this year, when the casting of Denzel Washington for Gladiator 2 had been confirmed, his role was something of a mystery. Not that we particularly cared about the lack of detail, to be honest. Personally, I’d watch the man play an Italian shoe and (probably) still have a good time.

But now, director Ridley Scott — who reunites with Washington 16 years after their first collaboration in American Gangster — has finally teased what we can expect from Hollywood’s most consistent star.

“As for Denzel’s character… There were businesses of gladiators who could indeed earn their freedom if they stayed alive. That was the deal. So we went right into that, in-depth,” Scott explained in this month’s issue of Total Film magazine.

RELATED: Ridley Scott Keen To Release 4.5-Hour Director’s Cut Of ‘Napoleon’

“Where did he come from? How was he taken? He was branded with marks and registered with a brand on his chest as a slave. So that’s how he comes into the story.”

“He’s a rich guy who’s still carrying a grudge.”

Scott added: “I respect Denzel Washington tremendously. I shouldn’t call Denzel a golden oldie — he’d f***ing kill me — but he’s gold dust.”

In the same interview, Ridley Scott explained why he cast rising star Paul Mescal as the adult version of Lucius Verus; son of Lucilla (Connie Nielson) and nephew of the villainous Emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), who is inspired by the actions of Russell Crowe’s Maximus Decimus Meridius.

Amusingly enough, like many of us, the octogenarian first discovered Mescal from the steamy and emotionally raw Normal People.

“I watched Normal People. It’s not my kind of show but I saw four episodes in a row — boom, boom, boom,” said Scott.

“I was thinking, ‘Who the hell is this Paul Mescal?’ And then I watched the whole series. And then, suddenly, Gladiator 2 came up, because the script was working pretty well. And I kept thinking about Paul. And that was it.”

“Can I see Paul Mescal being as big as Russell Crowe? For sure.”

RELATED: ‘Gladiator II’ Behind-The-Scenes Footage Hints At Siege Battle

Paul Mescal, Denzel Washington, and a returning Connie Nielson will be joined by a star-studded cast featuring Joseph Quinn as co-emperor Caracalla, Fred Hechinger (who replaces Barry Keoghan as co-emperor Geta); along with Pedro Pascal, May Calamawy, Lior Raz, Peter Mensah, and Matt Lucas.

Djimon Hounsou and Derek Jacobi reprise their roles as former gladiator Juba and Senator Gracchus, respectively.

The forthcoming historical epic also reintroduces costume designer Janty Yates and production designer Arthur Max; as well as reuniting Scott with two other seasoned collaborators: director of photography Dariusz Wolski and screenwriter David Scarpa (All The Money In The WorldNapoleon).

Gladiator 2 starring Paul Mescal, Denzel Washington, and plenty more currently has a November 22nd, 2024 release date.


There’s more where that came from: we watched and ranked the top 10 Denzel Washington movies. Check it out now.

Garry Lu
WORDS by
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]