Paul Mescal is reportedly in talks to star in a sequel to Gladiator directed by Ridley Scott.
According to Deadline, the actor — whose breakout role came with television series Normal People in 2020 — is currently in negotiations to lead the cast of the film, which will serve as a follow-up to the Scott-directed first instalment, released in 2000. Mescal will reportedly take on the role of Lucius, the son of Gladiator character Lucilla.
It marks the latest development in the much-anticipated Gladiator follow-up, which has been rumoured since as early as 2001. In 2021, Scott confirmed that a script for the sequel had been written, with the final draft reportedly being submitted in November of last year. “We have a good footprint,” Scott said of the sequel’s script in a 2021 interview with Deadline.
The director continued: “You can’t just do another Gladiator type movie. You’ve got to follow…there’s enough components from the first one to pick up the ball and continue it”.
While a release date for the sequel has yet to be announced, it will follow Scott’s upcoming film Kitbag, which is set to premiere on AppleTV+ later this year. That film will star Joaquin Phoenix in the role of Napoleon Bonaparte, marking the actor’s first appearance in a Scott movie since starring opposite Russell Crowe in the original Gladiator.
In 2020, Crowe detailed his own ideas for Gladiator 2, telling Screen Rant that his idea of resurrecting his character Maximus for a new instalment was ultimately scrapped because “I don’t think we have the rights to that story.” Reports of a sequel emerged prior to that in 2018.
Last year, Mescal starred in the film Aftersun, which NME described as “the best British movie this year” in a four-star review. “Liable to increase the cult around Mescal, following his BAFTA-winning turn in Normal People, Aftersun may be small in scale, but it leaves a distinct and lasting impression”, NME wrote.