Why Did Barry Keoghan Leave His Gladiator 2 Role? Here's What Actor Says

Barry Keoghan who was supposed to play the role of co-emperor Geta in the Gladiator sequel, even after accepting the role exited from the project. In an interview the actor cites the reason

Updated on Jun 02, 2024  |  11:56 AM IST |  58.9K
Barry Keoghan in Mammel (PC: IMDb)

Ridley Scott directed Gladiator sequel is one of the most anticipated projects. Barry Keoghan was set for a major role alongside his fellow Irish actor Paul Mescal. But Keoghan dropped out of the sequel to the 2000 blockbuster. The new film follows the 2000 historical epic Gladiator, which grossed more than USD 460 million in worldwide box office sales and was nominated for 12 Oscars, winning five including Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe. 

According to the report, Keoghan was going to play Emperor Geta, a role that has now gone to Fred Hechinger. Keoghan explains why he missed out on the Gladiator 2 role. The Saltburn actor surely disappointed fans by dropping his name from the sequel, but he also said that he is a big fan of Gladiator. 

Barry Keoghan opens up about why he exited Gladiator 2

Barry Keoghan was supposed to play the role of co-emperor Geta, the primary antagonist of the movie alongside Joseph Quinn’s co-emperor Caracalla; the villainous role initially played by Joaquin Phoenix in the original movie which was later split into two, just to make sure it fits with Roman history. 

Keoghan accepted the role and was about to appear in the movie, but then it was announced that he had exited the project due to some reasons. Different speculation started to develop regarding him leaving the project. But he has said the reason was simply down to “scheduling conflicts”.


In an interview with IndieWire, Keoghan confirmed that scheduling conflicts were the main factor he had to pull away his name from Gladiator 2. "I am a massive fan of Gladiator and a massive fan of that cast. It's a shame you can't do both," he regretted. Keoghan discussed the challenges of balancing multiple projects, particularly when it's being filmed in two different countries. 

“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.

What do we know so far about Gladiator 2?

Gladiator 2 is on the way after 24 years of its first movie. The much-anticipated movie stars Paul Mescal as the lead, with a star-studded supporting cast including Pedro Pascal and Denzel Washington. Russell Crowe is not returning for Gladiator 2 as Maximus died at the end of the first Gladiator. Joseph Quinn, Derek Jacobi, and Connie Nielsen also join the cast. 


"It's an extension of the narrative, but it is long beyond Maximus's passing, so it doesn't really involve me at all,” Crowe said. “I hear that young fella Paul is a good dude and I wish him the best of luck with it."

Much details about the plot of  Gladiator 2 have not yet been revealed, but the filmmakers showed a quick look at an unfinished trailer at CinemaCon in April 2024.

Gladiator 2 officially arrives in theaters on Friday, November 22, 2024. Get ready for yet another trip to ancient Rome. 

ALSO READ: Cannes Film Festival 2024: Barry Keoghan Flashes Big Smile As His Film Bird Gets Seven-Minute Standing Ovation

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