Paul Mescal said in an interview with Esquire UK (conducted prior to the SAG-AFTRA strike) that he did not get in contact with Russell Crowe regarding Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator 2.” Mescal is headlining the upcoming sequel to the 2000 historical epic, which won Crowe the Academy Award for best actor. Crowe’s character, Maximus, dies at the end of “Gladiator.” The sequel picks up years later and stars Mescal as Lucius, the nephew of Commodus (played by Joaquin Phoenix in “Gladiator”).
“I don’t know what we would talk about,” Mescal said of never reaching out to Crowe. “Like, I’d love to hear his stories from filming, but the character is, like, totally separate.”
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It would appear that Crowe never expected Mescal to contact him either. Crowe has repeatedly said that neither Scott nor anyone involved with “Gladiator 2” reached out to him since the sequel has nothing to do with the character he played in the 2000 original. At the Karlovy Film Festival in July, Crowe even urged the press to stop asking him about the “Gladiator” sequel.
“They should be fucking paying me for the amount of questions I am asked about a film I am not even in,” Crowe said. “It has nothing to do with me. In that world, I am dead. Six feet under. But I do admit to a certain tinge of jealousy, because it reminds me of when I was younger and what it meant for me, in my life.”
He continued, “I don’t know anything about the cast, I don’t know anything about the plot. I am dead! But I know that if Ridley has decided to do a second part of the story, over 20 years later, he must have had very strong reasons. I can’t think of this movie being anything other than spectacular.”
Starring opposite Mescal in “Gladiator 2” are Denzel Washington, Connie Nielsen, Derek Jacobi, Djimon Hounsou, Joseph Quinn, Fred Hechinger and Pedro Pascal. The latter actor made Mescal quite nervous on their first day of filming together.
“I was too afraid to go up to him,” Mescal said of Pescal. “He came up and just seemed so genuine; I’m really looking forward to hanging out with him.”
Paramount Pictures is set to open “Gladiator 2” in theaters Nov. 22, 2024.
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