Fans have demanded for over 20 years now to see a follow-up to the Russell Crowe-led 2000 blockbuster Gladiator, with the film’s director Ridley Scott not shying away from saying he would be willing to once step back into the walls of the Colosseum. Now, it seems the reality of a sequel is closer than ever before as a new report has noted that Paul Mescal of Hulu‘s limited series Normal People is in negotiations to lead the project.
The new report comes from Deadline, released shortly after another report that casting was underway from a few days ago. Other details noted in the report are that Scott would once again serve as the director and would also produce the film alongside Michael Pruss, Scott Free President as well as Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher of Red Wagon Entertainment. Janty Yates and Arthur Max, the Costume Designer and Production Designer, respectively, of the original film are also set to return for the sequel. They would be working from a script written by David Scarpa. Mescal and Scott reportedly began to have serious meetings for the role after the first draft of the film were delivered in November of last year. Mescal, the first to meet with the director, is said to be Scott’s top pick for the role after a “fantastic meeting between the two”. Other actors who were considered for the role include Richard Madden and Timothée Chalamet, as well as last summer’s hot-shot film stars Miles Teller and Austin Butler.
Mescal is currently best known for his role in the aforementioned Hulu limited series, Normal People, which saw him earn a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie” in 2020. He has also appeared in the acclaimed Aftersun that released in 2022, with his performance receiving heavy praise. He was also featured in God’s Creatures which premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.
The Role Mescal is Set to Play
The Deadline report also gave some insight into the character that Mescal is set to portray, and it is set to be a returning face. Mescal would lead the film as Lucius, the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) and nephew of Joaquin Phoenix‘s Commodus. The mother and son were saved by Crowe‘s Maximus when he defeated Commodus in combat, though he too succumbed to his injuries, allowing him to finally reunite with his murdered wife and son. The sequel will pick up years after the end of the first film and will follow the story of Lucius as a grown man. While the deal is not finalized for Mescal, the success that Crowe‘s career saw following the original 2000 film, including a Best Actor Oscar, it is no surprise that this is a highly coveted role in the industry.
Stay tuned to Collider for future news and developments about the Gladiator sequel.