- Paul Mescal feels immense pressure for his role in Gladiator 2, the biggest project he has been a part of.
- Gladiator 2 is well-written and pays homage to the original movie, but Mescal believes he can comfortably make the role his own.
- The sequel has a star-studded cast, including Connie Nielsen, Joseph Quinn, and potentially Denzel Washington, and has faced production delays due to strikes.
Paul Mescal is opening up about how Ridley Scott’s Gladiator 2 will pay tribute to the original 2000 movie. Starring Russell Crowe, Scott’s iconic work saw former Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius sold to a gladiator trainer and sent to fight in the Colosseum. He then sought out revenge against the tyrannical Commodus who murdered his family. In the movie’s sequel, Mescal is set to play Lucius Verus II, the nephew of Commodus who was previously played by Spencer Treat Clark.
Speaking with Esquire, Mescal expressed the pressure he feels for this particular role, as it is the biggest project he has been a part of. While he could not provide specific insight into the details of his character (such as whether Lucius is a gladiator), he noted that Gladiator 2 is “really well written” and “pays homage to the first one.” Although the legacy of the original movie is a constant presence in the production of the sequel, Mescal believes he can make the role “comfortably [his] own.” See Mescal’s full statement below:
I can’t get into that! I can’t tell you how stressed I am talking about that film in particular, because it’s definitely the biggest one I’ve done. I feel really excited, but, like, it’s difficult to get away from the legacy of the film a bit. I think it’s really well written, and it pays homage to the first one, but it’s very much something that I think I can step into and make comfortably my own.
The Stars Behind Gladiator 2
Winner of the 2001 Academy Award for Best Picture and Best Actor, Gladiator takes up much space in cinematic history. Generating over $460 million worldwide at the box office, Mescal certainly has a significant responsibility to fill, especially considering Ridley Scott’s 11-year legacy sequel losing streak. Yet, while this movie may be the biggest production Mescal has been involved with, he is by no means a Hollywood novice. In 2020, he starred as Connell in Normal People, a Hulu miniseries based on the Sally Rooney novel of the same name.
Other confirmed actors in Gladiator 2 include Connie Nielsen returning as Lucilla, the elder sister of Commodus and former love interest of Maximus. Stranger Things‘ Joseph Quinn will play Emperor Caracalla, historically known for cruelty and violence. Denzel Washington will also appear, but his role has not yet been announced.
Given the accolades the original received, much anticipation surrounds Gladiator 2. While the sequel was originally set to be released November 22, 2024, the ongoing WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes have caused delays in its production. Potentially, the forecasted release date will have to be pushed back, though with over a year still remaining until its schedule release, the sequel has plenty of time to get production back on track.