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Gladiator 2 bosses cast Paul Mescal after shirtless performance

paul mescal, winner of the best actor award for a streetcar named desire, olivier awards 2023
Gladiator 2's Paul Mescal casting explainedStuart C. Wilson - Getty Images

Paul Mescal has his Olivier award winning role in A Streetcar Named Desire to thank for his career-high role in Gladiator 2.

For legendary director Ridley Scott's sequel, Mescal will step into the sandals of the adult Lucius Verus, son of Connie Nielsen's character Lucilla and nephew of the villainous Roman Emperor Commodus.

Discussing Mescal's casting with Variety recently, Paramount Pictures executive Daria Cercek revealed that she watched him portray Stanley in the aforementioned West End production before making the offer.

paul mescal, winner of the best actor award for a streetcar named desire, olivier awards 2023
Stuart C. Wilson - Getty Images

Related: Russell Crowe denies Gladiator 2 return rumours

"There are several moments where he takes off his shirt and it was electric," she said.

"The ladies in the audience were very vocal, and we were like, 'I think we've found our guy.'"

Mescal himself, who got his big break in Normal People, previously told The Hollywood Reporter: "I'm so proud I get to make [Gladiator 2]. It's an intimidating feat. It's something I'm nervous about but something I feel like I can do."

normal people
BBC

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Don't expect the Irish actor to transform into the next Thor on screen, though.

"With films like this and superhero films, there is sometimes a focus on that, which I don't find that interesting. Of course there's a physical robustness required for the character, but past that, I'm not interested," he pointed out.

"This guy's got to fight and got to be a beast. And whatever that looks and feels like is right for me, is what it's going to be. Sometimes I see films and I'm like, 'That person doesn't look real.'"

Gladiator 2 also stars Pedro Pascal, Denzel Washington and Barry Keoghan, and is set to be released later this year.

Gladiator 2 is scheduled to hit cinemas on November 22, 2024.

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