Paul Mescal in talks to lead Gladiator 2 sequel

Fess up, you’ve always wondered what Paul Mescal would look like in a toga. Wish granted!

Mescal, according to Deadline, is currently in negotiations to headline Ridley Scott’s Gladiator sequel.

Twenty-three years after the Russell Crowe epic stormed the box office and the awards circuit, and after years of rumours that Scott was circling a follow-up, the sequel is expected to go into production later this year. UK press reported filming locations in Morocco has been earmarked.

Scott, 85, is expected to direct again and is also producing through his Scott Free company, while Gladiator costume designer Janty Yates and production designer Arthur Max are also slated to return.

The story is set decades after the events of the first film and will centre on the character of Lucius, the son of Connie Nielsen’s character Lucilla. The character is the young boy Crowe’s Maximus saved from his uncle Commodus.

According to Deadline, the final script was delivered in November and Mescal soon emerged as the frontrunner for the lead.

Mescal broke out in the TV drama Normal People, for which the Irish actor won a BAFTA award and was nominated for an Emmy. Since then he has starred in the films The Lost Daughter alongside Olivia Colman and current awards season contender Aftersun, a semi-biographical story from filmmaker Charlotte Wells.

Mescal will also be in the upcoming musical Carmen from Benjamin Millepied, and which was filmed in Australia in 2021. He is currently onstage in London in A Streetcar Named Desire, playing Stanley Kowalski.

The original Gladiator netted $US460 million at the box office and a string of accolades including the Oscar Best Picture.

In 2021, while promoting House of Gucci, Scott confirmed the script had been written. He told Deadline, “It’s already been written. We have a good footprint, a good, logical place to go. You can’t just do another Gladiator-type movie. You’ve got to follow … there are enough components from the first one to pick up the ball and continue it.”

The screenplay is by David Scarpa, who also wrote the script for another upcoming Scott project, Napoleon, which reunites Scott with Gladiator star Joaquin Phoenix. Napoleon will also feature Vanessa Kirby, Tahar Rahim, Ben Miles and Ludivine Sagnier. It will be released on Apple TV+.

Scott’s most recent works have been House of Gucci and The Last Duel. The latter was a box office flop, leading Scott to blame young people.

He told Marc Maron, “I think what it boils down to – what’ve got today [are] audiences who were brought up on these f**king cell phones. The [millennials] do not ever want to be taught anything unless you are told it on the cell phone”.

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