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Denzel Washington has been cast as the ancient Carthaginian general Hannibal in a biopic that’s in the works by Gladiator writer.
The Oscar-winning actor will play the famed military leader who posed the greatest threat to the Roman Republic. In 218 BC during The Second Punic War, Hannibal led troops atop elephants over the Alps, attacking Rome from the north.
Washington’s casting, first reported in Deadline, is met with news that John Logan, the writer of Ridley Scott’s 2000 epic Gladiator, is writing the script. Antoine Fuqua, who has worked with Washington on movies including 2001’s Training Day and The Equalizer film franchise, is directing the biopic.
Meanwhile, Washington is set to return to production on Scott’s Gladiator 2, which is due to restart production shortly following the conclusion of the SAG-AFTRA Hollywood strikes. It’s slated for release in November 2024, Deadline reports.
The actor’s role in the film is currently unknown.
Gladiator 2 will follow Lucius (Mescal) – the son of Lucilla (Connie Neilson) and Maximus (previously played by Russell Crowe) – and the nephew of Emperor Commodus, who Joaquin Phoenix played in the first film. Pedro Pescal has also been cast in the film although details about his character are as yet unknown.
“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.”
Scott added: “Can I see Paul Mescal being as big as Russell Crowe? For sure,” he continued.