Normal People's Paul Mescal to star in Ridley Scott's Gladiator 2

Paul Mescal
Paul Mescal

Paul Mescal is gearing up to ask if we are not, in fact, entertained, with Deadline reporting today that the Irish actor has been cast in the starring role in Ridley Scott’s long-promised sequel to his 2000 Best Picture winner Gladiator. Mescal will take on the starring role of the adult Lucius (played by Spencer Treat Clark in the original movie), who will presumably have to give up his fancy “nephew of the now dead emperor” lifestyle in order to to live up to the example that Russell Crowe’s general-turned-gladiator Maximus set in the original movie.

As we all remember, that film ended with Maximus successfully killing the deranged emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix) and restoring the Roman Republic, which flourishes across much of Europe to this day. [Note to editors: Check to see whether this actually happened.] It also ended with Crowe suddenly becoming one of the biggest movie stars on the planet, pretty much overnight, including winning an Oscar for the job—hence why the competition for the lead role in Gladia2r (our title, not Scott’s) has reportedly been so fierce. Other actors pursuing the part reportedly included Miles Teller, Austin Butler, Richard Madden, and Timothée Chalamet, although Mescal has apparently the frontrunner from early on.

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Although he came up in the Irish theater scene, Mescal came to the attention of international audiences for his starring role in BBC Three and Hulu’s Normal People, playing one half of the show’s central romantic pairing. His other recent credits include last year’s Aftersun and God’s Creatures. None of which are, you know, swords and sandal historical epics with a lot of elaborate swordplay, but we guess that’s what rehearsal (and extensive muscle-building regimens like the one Crowe underwent back in the day) are for.

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