Paul Mescal to enter the arena in Ridley Scott’s ‘Gladiator’ sequel

The Normal People and Aftersun star is in negotiations to play a grown-up Lucius, played by Spencer Treat Clark in the first film.


By Lauren Huff January 06, 2023 at 03:53 PM EST

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A Gladiator sequel is heading into the arena at Paramount, and Normal People and Aftersun star Paul Mescal is in negotiations to star, EW can confirm.

Ridley Scott is returning to direct and produce the new film, which follows the critically-acclaimed 2002 blockbuster that starred Russell Crowe as a Roman general who’s betrayed and sold into slavery by the corrupt emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix).

According to Variety, Mescal has been tapped to play Lucius, the son of Lucilla, played by a young Spencer Treat Clark in the first film. It’s unclear if Connie Nielsen will reprise her role as Lucilla, the emperor’s sister, but she gave EW an update in May 2020, saying, “So, we did hear from the producers. I think it’s just a question of which film is coming first in Ridley’s very tight schedule, and then I think it’s a question of COVID and can we get back to work. But I would be interested in doing [the film], for sure. I mean, it’s obviously a wonderful project, so, of course, I would be interested.”

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 15: Paul Mescal attends the exclusive Aftersun screening, Q&A with director and cast, and after party presented by MUBI and Gucci at Curzon Soho on November 15, 2022 in London, England.

Credit: Darren Gerrish/Getty Images

As Nielsen pointed out, Scott has several projects in various stages of development, including another historical epic, Napoleon, starring Phoenix as the emperor.

The rest of the cast for Gladiator has not yet been announced, but behind the scenes, some familiar faces are confirmed to be returning to ancient Rome. The original film’s costume designer, Janty Yates, and production designer, Arthur Max, are on board the sequel.

Scott is producing with Michael Pruss via Scott Free and Doug Wick & Lucy Fisher via Red Wagon Entertainment. David Scarpa (All the Money in the World) is penning the script. The original film was a co-production with Universal, and as such, the studio has the right to partner again when the project is packaged.

The original film earned over $460M worldwide and was nominated for 12 Academy Awards — ultimately winning five, including Best Picture and Best Actor.

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