Paul Mescal: I Was ‘Too Afraid’ to Approach Pedro Pascal on ‘Gladiator 2’ Set

Paul Mescal and Pedro Pascal were two of the biggest breakout stars of the past year thanks to their roles in “Aftersun” and “The Last of Us.” Both landed coveted parts in Ridley Scott’s upcoming sequel “Gladiator 2,” with Mescal taking the lead role of Lucius (previously played by Spencer Treat Clark in the original film). Pascal plays an unspecified supporting character and Mescal said he felt Pascal’s gravitas from the moment he walked on set.

In a new interview with Esquire, Mescal talked about the overwhelming experience of working on “Gladiator 2” (which has currently paused production due to the SAG-AFTRA strike). He recalled meeting Pascal for the first time, noting that he was too nervous to approach the “Mandalorian” star himself and had to wait for Pascal to start a conversation.

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“I was too afraid to go up to him,” Mescal said. “He came up and just seemed so genuine; I’m really looking forward to hanging out with him.”

Additionally, Mescal revealed that he hasn’t been in contact with original “Gladiator” star Russell Crowe about the film — something that Crowe is probably fine with, given his public frustration with talking about the film.

“I don’t know what we would talk about,” Mescal said of Crowe. “Like, I’d love to hear his stories from filming, but the character is, like, totally separate.”

Despite the thrilling opportunity to work with Scott and branch out into blockbuster filmmaking, Mescal revealed that his excitement for “Gladiator 2” is tempered by his nervousness about the scope of the project.

“I can’t tell you how stressed I am talking about that film in particular, because it’s definitely the biggest one I’ve done,” he said. “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.”

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