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Gladiator 2 lead Paul Mescal won’t talk to Russell Crowe about sequel

Gladiator 2 cast star Paul Mescal is the new face of Ancient Rome. But, he hasn't spoken to Russell Crowe about the new movie, and says he won't in the future.

Russell Crowe as Maximus in Gladiator

Gladiator 2 isn’t just a pipe dream anymore. After years of speculation a Gladiator sequel is now in active development, with Ridley Scott returning to direct. The new movie even began filming earlier this year before pausing due to the ongoing 2023 Actors Strikes for fair conditions.

That means the Gladiator 2 release date is uncertain, though it’s now likely to debut in 2025, rather than 2024. Leading the cast of the film, a follow-up to one of the best movies ever made, is Paul Mescal. Mescal was the breakout star of the series Normal People, and earned an Oscar nomination for his role in 2022’s heart-breaking drama movie Aftersun.

Mescal will star as an adult Lucius Verus, a character from the original movie, alongside Denzel Washington and Pedro Pascal both in unconfirmed roles. Those three names alone (and there are plenty of others, too) already make it one of the most hotly anticipated upcoming movies. However, one actor who isn’t involved in any capacity is Russell Crowe: Maximus himself.

That doesn’t bother Mescal, who spoke about whether or not he’d talked to Crowe in an interview with Esquire, conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike. “I don’t know what we would talk about,” said Mescal, on the Oscar winner. “Like, I’d love to hear his stories from filming, but the character is, like, totally separate.”

Mescal’s comments show that the sequel is going to be forging its own path forward, rather than relying too heavily on the original. But, it will still, “pay homage,” to Crowe’s movie.

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“I can’t tell you how stressed I am talking about that film in particular,” he continued, “because it’s definitely the biggest one I’ve done. I feel really excited, but, like, it’s difficult to get away from the legacy of the film a bit. I think it’s really well written and it pays homage to the first one, but it’s very much something that I think I can step into and make comfortably my own.”

Without giving anything away about the plot, Mescal’s words seem to indicate that Gladiator 2 will be just as confident and ambitious as the first. Hopefully, it manages to recapture Gladiator’s epic scale, and blend of historical drama and action.

For more on the classics, check out our guide to the best drama movies and best action movies. Or, see why we think Ridley Scott might just have a better track record than Steven Spielberg. You can also read about how his 2021 movie The Last Duel is still criminally underrated.

To keep up with the Gladiator 2 cast, find out more about the best Denzel Washington movies, and our guide to The Equalizer 3 release date. For Pedro Pascal, see what’s going on with The Mandalorian season 4 and learn about The Last of Us season 2 release date.