Home News ‘Aftersun’ Star Paul Mescal In Talks To Lead Ridley Scott’s ‘Gladiator’ Sequel

‘Aftersun’ Star Paul Mescal In Talks To Lead Ridley Scott’s ‘Gladiator’ Sequel

It’s possible that before last year you had never heard of actor Paul Mescal. But following acclaimed performances in God’s Creatures and a potentially Oscars-worthy one in Aftersun (my favorite film of the year), that could be about to change. And if he takes on the lead role in Ridley Scott’s long-developing Gladiator sequel, Mescal’s career is about to shoot off like a rocket.

Deadline reports Mescal is in talks to join Gladiator 2.  The film has been on the mind of returning director Ridley Scott since the 2000 original earned $460M and won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Development picked up when Paramount came aboard in 2018. The screenplay will be penned by David Scarpa, writer of Scott’s upcoming Napoleon biopic, and features the returns of costume designer Janty Yates and production designer Arthur Max.  Why break up the band when it’s already a proven success?

To that end, the film will springboard from its predecessor and connect in crucial ways. While obviously Russell Crowe won’t be back as Maximum, who met his end like a true gladiator warrior should, the role Mescal will play is Lucius. The “I like you, Spaniard. I shall cheer for you” son of Connie Nielsen’s Camilla, and nephew of Joaquin Phoenix’s villainous Emperor Commodus. It was Commodus who held Lucius captive until the boy was saved by Maximum who gutted his captor in the gladiator arena. Presumably, this event had a significant impact on the now adult-aged Lucius.

With Mescal reportedly beating out the likes of Austin Butler, Timothee Chalamet, Richard Madden, and Miles Teller for the role, it’s clear that Scott has the actor he wanted for such a major event film. This is just the first chip to fall. Expect more casting news to come.

Travis Hopson has been reviewing movies before he even knew there was such a thing. Having grown up on a combination of bad '80s movies, pro wrestling, comic books, and hip-hop, Travis is uniquely positioned to geek out on just about everything under the sun. A vampire who walks during the day and refuses to sleep, Travis is the co-creator and lead writer for Punch Drunk Critics. He is also a contributor to Good Morning Washington, WBAL Morning News, and WETA Around Town. In the five minutes a day he's not working, Travis is also a voice actor, podcaster, and Twitch gamer. Travis is a voting member of the Critics Choice Association (CCA), Washington DC Area Film Critics Association (WAFCA), and Late Night programmer for the Lakefront Film Festival.