EXCLUSIVE: Now that the SAG-AFTRA strike is ending, why not come out with elephant-sized ambition? Netflix has attached Denzel Washington to play the ancient Carthaginian general Hannibal in an Untitled epic drama that will reteam him with Antoine Fuqua for Netflix. That puts back star and director who first teamed in Training Day — Washington won the Oscar for that turn — and they most recently wrapped up the third installment of the Equalizer franchise.
John Logan, the Aviator scribe who knows his way around the sword and scandal saga with Gladiator, is writing the script. Fuqua, Washington, Erik Olsen and Adam Goldworm will produce. Jeremy Lott and Frank Moll to exec produce.
For Washington, the development brings back a project that he wanted to star in over 20 years ago, but Fox wanted to make it at a time when Washington didn’t want to be away for an extended period from his kids. They are now making their own paths in Hollywood and so now seems a better time to get so ambitious.
Atop an elephant, Hannibal came over the Alps and attacked Rome from the North, at the time posed the greatest threat to the republic. Hannibal was a skilled military tactician who led the troops in what is now Tunisia, and it is not far from Sicily. His military victories during the second Punic war are of a legend and the story of Hannibal is something Hollywood has been intrigued by for decades — Vin Diesel was attached to a rival pic — and few stars have the bankability to make the costly project worthwhile.
In this version, the film will follow The film covers the pivotal battles he led against the Roman Republic during the Second Punic War. The film falls under Fuqua’s production company, Hill District Media’s first look deal with Netflix.
Washington is set to return to production on another major period tentpole with the Ridley Gladiator 2, set to restart production shortly with the SAG strike ending and dated for Thanksgiving, 2024.
Washington is repped by WME and Fuqua is repped by LBI Entertainment and WME.