Gladiator II: First look at Paul Mescal and Pedro Pascal in Ridley Scott’s sequel

Headshot of Wenlei Ma
Wenlei Ma
The Nightly
Paul Mescal will be in Gladiator 2.
Paul Mescal will be in Gladiator 2. Credit: Supplied

You know the countdown to a movie is well and truly on when it drops a big first look feature with Vanity Fair.

The American publication revealed a series of images from Ridley Scott’s upcoming Gladiator sequel, due for release in November, including of Irish actor Paul Mescal as its lead, Lucius, the son of Connie Nielsen’s Lucilla.

The character appeared in the 2001 Russell Crowe film as a young boy played by Spencer Treat Clark. Mescal took on the character after a quick Zoom meeting with Scott. The filmmaker had seen the actor in his breakout role, the COVID-era sensation Normal People, in which Mescal portrayed sensitive university student Connor.

Sign up to The Nightly's newsletters.

Get the first look at the digital newspaper, curated daily stories and breaking headlines delivered to your inbox.

Email Us
By continuing you agree to our Terms and Privacy Policy.

Scott told VF, “When I watch anything, I tend to be clocking who’s interesting. It’s just in my DNA. And so, watching a TV show that’s not really my kind of TV show almost four years ago, I said, ‘Who’s this guy?’.”

He added that Mescal “was a special find”.

In the movie stills, Mescal is looking buff and fierce in his Roman leathers, and engaged in battle against Pedro Pascal.

It’s also the first time Scott has revealed the gist of the story. Previously all was known was it would pick up with Lucius decades after Crowe’s Maximus died in the first film.

While he was still a kid, Lucilla sent Lucius to Numidian, a real-life ancient kingdom in North Africa, which was outside of Rome’s reaches. Years later, he has a wife and a child, and is content. Then the Roman conquerors come to Numidia, led by Marcus Acacius (Pascal), a general who once knew Maximus.

Scott described the “raiding party” as “pretty gnarly”. Lucius, having seen the power and ambition of Rome in action, is not fan of the empire.

He may be an emperor’s grandson, but no one recognises him when he ends up in the gladiatorial arena. He sees someone he knows though – his mother, next to Acacius, the man who destroyed Numidia.

Pedro Pascal is fantastic as Joel in The Last of Us.
Pedro Pascal, seen here in The Last of Us, will battle Paul Mescal in Gladiator II. Credit: Supplied./TheWest

Mescal described the film as a very “angry young man” drama while playing around in the sandbox of political intrigue and brutal violence. The combination could prove combustible.

There are also images of the rest of the cast, including Denzel Washington as a powerbroker in lush robes, Nielsen, who reprises her role, and The White Lotus’s Fred Hechinger and Stranger Things’ Joseph Quinn as a pair of weak brothers who jointly rule as emperors over a fading Rome.

Scott started filming Gladiator II in June 2023 but was interrupted by the actor strike. Production resumed in December.

Gladiator II is in cinemas on November 21

Latest Edition

The front page of The Nightly for 22-07-2024

Latest Edition

Edition Edition 22 July 202422 July 2024

Desperate Democrats look to comeback queen Harris.