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26th May 2024

Barry Keoghan opens up on reasons behind Gladiator sequel exit

Simon Kelly

Barry Keoghan Gladiator

“It’s a shame.”

Barry Keoghan has opened up on the reasons behind his casting exit from the upcoming Gladiator sequel.

The Dubliner was set to team up with fellow Irish star Paul Mescal in the long-awaited follow-up to Ridley Scott’s 2000 epic.

However, it was announced not long after that Keoghan had dropped out of negotiations to play the role of Emperor Geta.

The rumours circulating at the time suggested that Keoghan’s desire to work with director Andrea Arnold for her upcoming film Bird was the main reason behind dropping out.

However, Keoghan has said the reason was simply down to “scheduling conflicts”.

Barry Keoghan opens up on reasons behind Gladiator sequel exit

speaking to IndieWire at Cannes, Keoghan said: “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.

“It always happens. Shooting in two different countries as well makes it really difficult.”

The Irish star was at the French film festival for the opening of Bird, which received a 7-minute-long standing ovation following its premiere,

Keoghan himself was singled out for his “tour de force” performance in the drama.

Bird stars Keoghan as Bug, an ill-equipped young father who’s daughter Bailey faces the challenge of growing up in a broken home.

As for Gladiator 2, the film is currently scheduled for a 22 November 2024 release, with Mescal playing the grown up version of Lucius – the nephew of the villainous Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) who idolised hero Maximus (Russell Crowe) in the 2000s action epic.

Alongside Mescal in the lead role are Pedro Pascal and Denzel Washington, Joseph Quinn, Derek Jacobi and Connie Nielsen.

Fred Hechinger (The White Lotus) will play the role Keoghan was in negotiations for – Emperor Geta.

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