See Lucius From "Gladiator" Now at 34
Former child actor Spencer Treat Clark also played Bruce Willis' son in Unbreakable.
In the Oscar-winning 2000 movie Gladiator, 13-year-old Spencer Treat Clark played Lucius, the nephew of Joaquin Phoenix's evil character, Commodus. Lucius plays a pivotal role in the historical drama, accidentally revealing Maximus' (Russell Crowe) plan to remove Commodus from power by force and leading to a final confrontation between the two. The film went on to become a huge hit, by both box office and critical standards, and Clark went on to many more acclaimed movies and TV shows. Read on to find out what the former child actor has been doing since squaring up with Phoenix and Crowe.
He continued working, as a child and later as an adult.
Clark has worked almost all of his life, beginning with a TV movie when he was eight. Before Gladiator, he played roles in the late 1990s gems Double Jeopardy and Arlington Road and guested on Another World and Third Watch. The same year the Best Picture winner came out, the young actor also played Joseph Dunn, son of Bruce Willis' superhero character in the M. Night Shyamalan movie Unbreakable. Other movie roles include Mystic River, The Last House on the Left, Much Ado About Nothing, Cymbeline, and The Town That Dreaded Sundown. In 2019, he reprised the role of Joseph Dunn for the long-awaited Unbreakable sequel Glass, and you can also see Clark in the upcoming biopic satire Weird: The Al Yankovic Story and a new feature film adaptation of Stephen King's Salem's Lot, which is due out in 2023.
Clark has also acted on television throughout his career, making appearances in episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (like any self-respecting New York-born actor must), The Good Wife, The Closer, Mad Men, and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. On Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., he played recurring character Werner von Strucker across several episodes, and he played Adrian Dolan on Animal Kingdom from 2016 to 2019.
He might be returning to his Gladiator role.
For years, there's been talk of a potential Gladiator sequel. And now, according to a 2021 interview with director Ridley Scott, there's a finished script for the project. "We have a good footprint, a good, logical place to go. You can't just do another Gladiator-type movie," the filmmaker told Deadline. "You've got to follow…there's enough components from the first one to pick up the ball and continue it."
The follow-up to the epic will reportedly focus on a now-adult Lucius. So, while Clark isn't officially attached to the project yet, fans could see him take his character into a new era. It seems that the wheels are in motion for the next Gladiator, so more details should be dropping soon.
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He's related by marriage to Joss Whedon.
Clark's sister is Eliza Clark-Whedon, who happens to be a screenwriter and artist in her own right. (She was the showrunner of the 2021 series Y: The Last Man.) She's also married to Zachary Whedon—writer, director, and brother of Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon.
You can see the family ties in their filmographies. Eliza worked on Clark's series Animal Kingdom, and Clark appeared in Joss' 2012 adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing.
In a 2020 interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Clark recalled asking Joss during the filming of that movie about his other then-current project, The Avengers. The Shakespeare adaptation was filming in the director's home, so he offered to take some people up to his office and show them a few early clips of the Marvel team-up. "It was really cool," Clark said. "Just really rough cut stuff like Black Widow escaping at the beginning and then recruiting the Hulk. So we were super jazzed."
He's stayed close with Bruce Willis.
Clark acted opposite some pretty formidable actors when he was just a kid, and it seems like he developed a particularly poignant relationship with Willis. He told THR that the Die Hard actor gifted him Led Zeppelin and Beatles box sets as wrap gifts for Unbreakable and that he considers Willis his "hero."
"Bruce has always been so sweet to me and so good to me," he said. "He's such a great scene-partner too."
Having that father/son dynamic off-screen as well made teaming back up for Glass all the more special. Because they filmed in Allentown, Pennsylvania, the cast and crew all stayed in the same hotels and spent any spare time hanging out. "I got to hear about [Willis'] adult children and eat dinner together," Clark recalled of the reunion. "It was pretty special. I have some cool memorabilia from Unbreakable, and it was really cool getting to sit down with Bruce and show him. I even had notes that he'd written to me."