In a interview with Total Film, Gladiator 2 director Ridley Scott shared the reason why he chose Oscar nominee Paul Mescal for the leading role in the upcoming action epic. Scott revealed that he became a fan of Mescal’s talent after watching him in BBC’s limited drama Normal People, which served as the Irish actor’s breakout project.
“I watched Normal People. It’s not my kind of show but I saw four episodes in a row – boom, boom, boom. I was thinking, ‘Who the hell is this Paul Mescal,’” Scott recalled. “And then I watched the whole series. And then, suddenly, Gladiator 2 came up, because the script was working pretty well. And I kept thinking about Paul. And that was it.”
Gladiator 2 is directed by Scott from a screenplay written by David Scarpa. Leading the long-awaited sequel is Mescal as Lucius, the son of Lucilla and Emperor Commodus’ nephew from the first installment. Joining Mescal are returning cast members Connie Nielsen as Lucilla, Djimon Hounsou as Juba, and Derek Jacobi as Gracchus. It will also feature Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal, Joseph Quinn, Fred Hechinger, May Calamawy, Lior Raz, and more.
The sequel is produced by Scott, Michael Pruss, Douglas Wick and Lucy Fisher. The film is considered to be a joint-venture production between Paramount, Universal Pictures, Scott Free Productions, and Parkes/MacDonald Productions.
Production on the project is currently on hold due to the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike. Before it was temporarily suspended, the Gladiator 2 filming was reportedly over halfway done.