Paul Mescal Set to Star in Ridley Scott’s ‘Gladiator’ Sequel

The "Aftersun" and "Normal People" breakout star is in talks to play the nephew of Joaquin Phoenix's original character Commodus.
LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 29: Paul Mescal attends The Fashion Awards 2021 at the Royal Albert Hall on November 29, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)
Paul Mescal
Corbis via Getty Images

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Paul Mescal is in talks to lead “Gladiator 2,” helmed by original director Ridley Scott, a source confirmed to IndieWire.

After Scott revealed that the sequel to the Oscar-winning 2000 film will take place 20 years later, with Mescal’s role as part of the next generation of the ruling Roman family. The estimated era for the film is 200 B.C.E.

The “Aftersun” actor is set to star as lead character Lucius, the nephew of since-deceased Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) who was killed by Russell Crowe’s Maximus. Lucius is the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) and grandson of Marcus Aurelius.

“Gladiator 2” is written by Scott’s “Napoleon” screenwriter David Scarpa. Original “Gladiator” collaborators, costume designer Janty Yates and production designer Arthur Max, are returning along with director-producer Scott. Scott Free President Michael Pruss, plus Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher via Red Wagon Entertainment, are also producing.

“I’m already having [the next] ‘Gladiator’ written now,” Scott told Empire magazine in 2021. “So when I’ve done Napoleon, ‘Gladiator’ will be ready to go.”

Scott’s “Napoleon” reunites the director with “Gladiator” alum Phoenix in the titular role of the French period piece.

“Normal People” breakout Paul Mescal was reportedly one of the first actors to audition for the lead role once the script was finalized in November 2022.

Actor Mescal previously said that he is open to being cast in another beloved film’s sequel (or, threequel) such as a “Top Gun: Maverick” follow-up. However, Mescal noted he would not want to be locked into a long-running franchise like the MCU.

I’d struggle if that was taken away from me,” Mescal said of being able to star in independent films. “And I think sometimes you have to make a decision to let that go for five, 10, 15 years and that would be really sad.”

Mescal added, “I know that if I make that decision, I’m not going to wake up in five years’ time and be surprised I didn’t get time off to go to Turkey and make an independent film for two months. Knowledge is power.”

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