Denzel Washington Playing One Of History’s Military Greats In Netflix Epic From Gladiator Writer

By Jeffrey Rapaport | Published

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History buffs and Denzel Washington fans take note—as Deadline reports, Netflix is preparing to deliver a historical epic slated to be a cinematic triumph, with the iconic Hollywood star portraying the Carthaginian general, Hannibal. The project rekindles the dynamic partnership between Washington and director Antione Fuqua, who initially showcased their chemistry in their 2001 Oscar-winning movie Training Day. What’s more, the screenplay for the upcoming historical epic will be written by acclaimed screenwriter John Logan, an artist possessing a familiarity and background perfect for the project; after all, he wrote Gladiator. 

Denzel Washington And Antione Fuqua Reunite

For their part, Washington and Fuqua thankfully united for further work after Training Day, including and especially the Equalizer series. Primed to draft a narrative encapsulating the awe-inspiring military campaigns of Hannibal during the Second Punic War against Rome, Logan should have plenty of ideal subject matter to work with.

The Actor Has Shown Interest In Playing Hannibal For Decades

Fans might not know Denzel Washington voiced a keen interest in playing Hannibal for over two decades. But familial commitments amounted to time constraints, preventing the household-name actor from realizing his dream. However, with his kids all grown up and creating Hollywood legacies of their own, the timing would seem ideal for Washington to embark on this ambitious, exciting portrayal. 

The General Washington Is Portraying

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Hannibal is synonymous with strategic genius, daring, and one of the most audacious military feats in history: crossing the Alps with his army mounted on elephants to attack Rome from the North (instead from across the Mediterranean, separating Carthage, in modern Tunisia, from the Italian seat of the Roman Empire). For years, the commander’s ingenuity and prowess in the Second Punic War made the figure the subject of Hollywood fascination. Many attempts to bring the figure’s story to the silver screen predate Denzel Washington’s ambition to play Hannibal. 

Fuqua’s First Look Deal With Netflix


The upcoming Netflix epic is rumored to feature some of the most critical and storied battles Hannibal led. The film forms part of Fuqua’s first-look deal with the streaming giant via the director’s production company, Hull District Media. Excitingly, the film will be one of two-period pieces on Washington’s horizon, as the actor is said to be returning to work with Ridley Scott on Gladiator 2, scheduled for release in Thanksgiving 2024. 

The project involves a formidable production team consisting of Washington, Fuqua, Erik Olsen, and Adam Woldwormk, while Jeremy Lott and Frank Rodriguez Moll will serve as executive producers. 

Denzel Washington Through The Years

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Denzel Washington’s upcoming Hannibal epic marks another exciting chapter in a storied, legendary career. First earning recognition as Dr. Philip Chandler in the medical drama St. Elsewhere, Washington won an Acadamy Award for Best Supporting Actor for portraying Private Silas Trip in 1989’s Glory. The actor then augmented his already incredible run with challenging roles, such as playing the title character in Spike Lee’s biographical film Malcolm X. This performance earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

Denzel Washington would win the Oscar Award for Best Actor for his performance of detective Alonzo Harris in Training Day; for that role–and everything else–we can’t wait to see him play Hannibal.