Gladiator sequel to be shot in Malta

The Gladiator sequel will feature Paul Mescal as the protagonist, as director Sir Ridley Scott finalises talks with Denzel Washington to cast him as the antagonist

Sir Ridley Scott’s Gladiator sequel, starring Paul Mescal and possibly Denzel Washington, will be shot in Malta later this summer, MaltaToday has learnt.

Industry sources said the sets for the Roman-era epic film are currently being created at Fort Ricasoli which will once again be transformed into the Coliseum. Some 200 workers are currently engaged in set production.

Gladiator 2 is expected to star Paul Mescal as the protagonist while reports have suggested that Scott was finalising talks with Hollywood star Denzel Washington to feature as Mescal’s rival.

Sources said the film will be shot mostly in Malta with some studio work in the UK.

This will be Scott’s fourth film in Malta, having shot White Squall in 1996, the first Gladiator movie in 1999, and Napoleon last year.

Mescal will not be replacing Russel Crowe’s Maximus, whose character died in the original film, but will be playing Lucius, the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen). Lucius is now a grown man as the story takes place two decades after the first film ended.

Paramount is behind Gladiator 2 but the original was a co-production with Universal, which will have the option to co-produce the sequel once the project is packaged.

The release date for the film has been set for November 2024.

The first Gladiator film earned over $400 million (€376m) worldwide and launched Russel Crowe’s international acting career. Crowe picked up Best Actor in the Oscars for his part as Maximus. Gladiator was nominated for 12 Oscars, winning five, including Best Picture and Best Actor.

Generous tax breaks for film makers have made Malta an attractive option for films to be shot here. Among the large Hollywood films shot in Malta recently were Jurassic World Dominion and the period film Napoleon.

The Malta Film Commission recently embarked on a drive to encourage people to join the film industry, which it says is no longer a seasonal one.

With back-to-back productions happening on the islands, the Commission is offering a training programme to provide prospective workers in the industry with the necessary skills to find a job in the film industry.