Paul Mescal in Negotiations to Star in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator 2 : Reports

Paul Mescal attends the 2021 LACMA Art + Film Gala presented by Gucci at Los Angeles County Museum of Art on November 06, 2021 in Los Angeles, California, Russell Crowe Gladiator - 2000 Director: Ridley Scott Dreamworks/Universal USA Scene Still
Paul Mescal attends the 2021 LACMA Art + Film Gala presented by Gucci at Los Angeles County Museum of Art on November 06, 2021 in Los Angeles, California, Russell Crowe Gladiator – 2000 Director: Ridley Scott Dreamworks/Universal USA Scene Still

Taylor Hill/WireImage; Dreamworks/Universal/Kobal/Shutterstock

Paul Mescal might be headed to ancient Rome.

On Friday, multiple outlets reported that Mescal, 26, is in negotiations to take on the lead role in the sequel to director Ridley Scott‘s Academy Award-winning 2000 historical action epic Gladiator.

For the sequel, the Normal People star is expected to play Lucius, the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielson), according to Deadline. The character — who is villain Commodus’ (Joaquin Phoenix) nephew — was portrayed as a young boy by Spencer Treat Clark in the original movie.

Mescal was one of the first actors to meet with Scott, 85, for the role after Gladiator 2‘s script was finalized in November 2022, Deadline reported Friday. The outlet reported that Mescal was “clearly Scott’s top choice” for the part after their initial meeting, citing insider sources.

While Deadline reported that Mescal’s deal to star in Gladiator 2 is not yet finalized, the negotiations have made clear that the movie will finally happen over two decades after the original Russell Crowe-led film released.

Screenwriter David Scarpa, who has previously collaborated with Scott on 2017’s All the Money in the World and on the director’s upcoming Napoleon Bonaparte movie starring Phoenix, 48, wrote the script for the upcoming Gladiator sequel, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Academys 13th Governors Awards
Academys 13th Governors Awards

TOMMASO BODDI/AFP/Getty

Efforts to create a sequel to Gladiator date back a number of years. In May 2020, Nielsen told Entertainment Weekly that she had heard from the film’s producers about making a sequel, indicating the film’s timing was “just a question of which film is coming first in Ridley’s very tight schedule.”

2000’s Gladiator follows Crowe’s Maximus, a Roman general who is cast out by the emperor’s son Commodus after Commodus murders his father, usurps the throne and has Maximus’ family killed. Maximus spends the film fighting as enslaved gladiator across the Roman Empire, working his way toward exacting revenge on Commodus in the film’s finale.

'Gladiator', 2000
‘Gladiator’, 2000

Universal/Getty

Mescal’s recent film roles after his breakout part in Normal People included 2022 films God’s Creatures and awards season darling Aftersun, the latter of which earned the actor a nomination for best actor at the upcoming Critics Choice Awards.

In September 2022, Mescal spoke with PEOPLE about playing against type from his Normal People days in his more recent projects and at the time indicated one major movie franchise he would be interested in after his success in independent films.

“If I get to keep making indie films for the rest of my life, I’ll be a happy man,” he told PEOPLE at the time.

“Something like Top Gun: Maverick would be more interesting to me,” Mescal added, when asked whether there is a cinematic universe he would like to join. “I love that movie.”

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