Paul Mescal directs Ridley Scott’s Gladiator 2

The Aftersun and Normal People breakout star is in talks to play the nephew of Joaquin Phoenix’s original character Commodus.

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Paul Mescal is in talks to helm Gladiator 2, which will be helmed by original director Ridley Scott, a source confirmed to IndieWire.

After Scott revealed 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 BC

The “Aftersun” actor will star as Lucius, the nephew of the late 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 was written by Scott’s Napoleon screenwriter David Scarpa. Top Gun: Maverick writer Peter Craig was previously employed as a screenwriter when Gladiator 2 was still in development at Paramount; The studio is no longer connected.

The original Gladiator staff, costume designer Janty Yates and production designer Arthur Max, return along with director and producer Scott. Scott Free President Michael Pruss is also producing, as well as Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher through Red Wagon Entertainment.

“I have already [the next] ‘Gladiator’ is now written,” Scott told Empire magazine in 2021. “Well, when I’m done with Napoleon, ‘Gladiator’ will be done.”

Scott’s Napoleon reunites the director with Gladiator alum Phoenix in the title role of the French historical drama.

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

Actor Mescal previously said he’s open to being cast in a sequel (or threesome) of another popular film, such as a Top Gun: Maverick sequel. However, Mescal noted that he doesn’t want to be tied to a long-running franchise like the MCU.

“I would fight if that was taken away from me,” Mescal said of the opportunity to act in independent films. “And I think sometimes you have to make a decision to let that go for five, ten, 15 years and that would be really sad.”

Mescal added, “I know when I make that decision I’m not going to wake up in five years and wonder why I didn’t have time to go to Turkey and do an independent film for two months. Knowledge is power.”

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Lindsay Lowe

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