Paul Mescal to star in Gladiator sequel

Paul Mescal to star in Gladiator sequel

Paul Mescal is set to star in Sir Ridley Scott's 'Gladiator' sequel.

The 'Normal People' actor is in talks to take on the leading role of Lucius Verus, the son of Roman Empress Lucilla and the nephew of the villainous Commodus, who was played by Joaquin Phoenix in the original movie, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

David Scarpa is writing the script, while Ridley will produce alongside Michael Pruss via Scott Free, and Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher via Red Wagon Entertainment.

The sequel is set to start filming in Ouarzazate, Morocco in May and it is hoped original star Russell Crowe will make an appearance in flashbacks as his character Maximus from the original 2000 epic.

A source previously told The Sun newspaper's Bizarre column: “This has been building since 2018 and for a long time it looked like it may never see the light of day.

“But suddenly late last year the production team really sprung into life after settling on a new script which seemed to inspire them.

“A few months later everything was up and running and now it’s well underway.

“They should be filming by May, which means there’s every chance the movie will be ready some time in 2024.

“Either way, this would be a huge box office draw.

“It’s one of the biggest action films of its era and was a massive hit.

“People have been asking Ridley about a follow-up for years, so there’s clearly a massive appetite for it.”

The first movie - which also starred Derek Jacobi, and the late Oliver Reed in his final role - won five Academy Awards, including the coveted Best Picture accolade and Best Actor for Russell, as well as a string of other gongs including BAFTAs and Golden Globes.

Speaking in 2021, Scott insisted the 'Gladiator' sequel would be next on his list as soon as he finished work on 'Napoleon' - which stars Phoenix as the French military commander Napoleon Bonaparte and is due for release on Apple TV+ later this year.

He said: "I’m already having [the next] 'Gladiator' written now. So when I’ve done 'Napoleon', 'Gladiator' will be ready to go."