Joseph Quinn Raves About ‘Gladiator II’ Director Ridley Scott’s “Thirst For Life” At 86

Nearly 25 years later, Ridley Scott is revisiting ancient Rome, and it seems he picked up right where he left off.

Joseph Quinn recently opened up about his time working with the seminal director on Gladiator II, the followup to his 2000 epic historical drama, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture and earned Scott a Best Director nod.

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“He is a world builder,” he raved to Men’s Health of Scott, who marked his 86th birthday in November.

“He creates these films that utterly transport you, and that is a very rare thing to be able to do. I, like you, was a massive fan of his films: I remember watching Blade Runner as a kind of rite-of-passage with my Dad when I was younger; Gladiator was a really seminal film for me; Thelma and Louise, American Gangster, Alien, obviously. There are so many, and there’s such a variety in that body of work that indicates the caliber of director that he is, and the kind of creativity that he’s able to harness and weaponize.

“Watching him negotiate these brutal shoot days… as you said, he’s not 32 anymore. But he conducts himself with such a vigor, and thirst, for life and also filmmaking, still—he just loves it, and that is very infectious. Working with him… I was never expecting to do that, obviously, and so I was incredibly grateful. I just tried, like we all did, to be as present as we could, and to understand that this was a very rare thing. Outside of making the film itself, it was a very rare experience as a human being to bear witness to ancient Rome. He built ancient Rome! Not a lot of people can do that—Ridley Scott can,” added Quinn.

Russell Crowe in 'Gladiator'
Russell Crowe in Gladiator (2000). (Universal Pictures)

He stars in the sequel alongside Paul Mescal, Fred Hechinger, Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal and Connie Nielsen, who reprises her role as Lucilla from the original movie. After starring in the first film, Russell Crowe admitted he has a “tinge of jealousy” about not returning for the sequel.

“We certainly we were aware of the legacy of the first film, so we wanted to pay homage to that, and understand that it’s one of those films that a lot of people get misty-eyed about, myself included,” said Quinn.

“Going back near that world felt a little daunting, but also utterly thrilling,” he added. “Yes, I play one of the emperors in it, and it was a truly incredible experience. And that’s all I can say.”

Gladiator II premieres November 15 internationally and November 22 in the US and Canada.

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