Exclusive: For nearly 16 years, Denzel Washington and Ridley Scott have wowed audiences with their hit crime dramas american gangster, And now it looks like the two A-listers are ready to get back together in a big way. Sources tell Deadline that Washington is in final negotiations to star as Scott in the sequel to his Oscar-winning Best Picture film. wrestler for Paramount.
Paul Mescal is on board to star opposite Washington, with Scott back in the director’s chair.
Scott will also produce with Scott Free President Michael Bruce as well as Doug Wick & Lucy Fisher via Red Wagon Entertainment. David Scarpa wrote the screenplay. Walter Parks and Laurie MacDonald are executive producers.
Costume designer Jante Yates and production designer Arthur Max also return from the original film.
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 become involved again when the project is packaged.
Once Mescal closed the project, Scott and Paramount Pictures president and CEO Brian Robbins and co-chairs Daria Cercek and Michael Ireland lobbied hard to get the star for another lead role in the movie and take a shot with Washington, twice. Oscar winner. When the show was first presented, it was not known if it would actually do so; Washington is known for his great flair in projects and never gets involved in anything. But after reading the script, sources close to the project said he was excited about the role Scott had written with him.
A meeting with Scott soon followed, and after the manager made his offer, Washington was about to go.
The new movie follows the 2000 movie wrestlerwhich earned more than $460 million at the worldwide box office and was nominated for 12 Academy Awards, winning five including Best Picture.
The role of Maximus, a Roman general turned gladiator, was a career changer for Russell Crowe, not only bringing him a Best Actor Oscar but also putting him at the top of every A-list. Once it was made clear last year that the sequel would be Scott’s next film, every male actor in town who fit the profile began chasing the part.
Mescal will not replace Crowe’s Maximus, whose character met his end in the original film. Instead, he plays Lucius, the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen), as an adult as the story takes place years after the first film ended. Lucius was also the nephew of Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), the son of the Roman leader Marcus Aurelius who killed his father and seized the throne. Commodus ends up in a gladiatorial ring with Maximus who, despite his mortal wound, maims the Emperor before fading into the aftermath of reuniting with his murdered wife and son. He saves Maximus Lucius and Lucilla while avenging his family, and makes a strong impression on the young boy.
Washington’s role is kept secret.
Washington has always had strong ties not only with Ridley but also with the Scott family, having starred in several films by Ridley’s late brother Tony before his death in 2012. After working on Tony Scott’s thrillers such as crimson tide And burning man, Washington finally teamed up with Ridley Scott on the 2007 crime thriller American gangster (Ironically, this movie also starred Crowe.) It was a huge box office hit, and for years Washington and Scott had been searching for the next big thing to team up on.
Washington was last seen in his Oscar-nominated role in Apple and A24 The tragedy of Macbeth. It can be seen next on the third equalizer Sony movie that bows later this year. It is represented by WME.
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