Paul Mescal says 'Gladiator 2' was the first major movie that "piqued my interest".

Paul Mescal says it was a no-brainer to say yes to 'Gladiator 2'

Paul Mescal says it was a no-brainer to say yes to 'Gladiator 2'

The 28-year-old actor - who shot to fame portraying heartthrob Connell in the hit TV adaptation of Sally Rooney's 'Normal People' - was cast as Lucius in Sir Ridley Scott's sequel to the 2000 historical drama, and he admitted there was no way he was going to turn down the film.

He told AnOther magazine: “The script for Gladiator lands in your lap, and you simply can’t turn it down. Getting to work on a big-scale film like this, especially under the direction of Ridley Scott, is a straightforward decision. Until now, I hadn’t really encountered any major movies that piqued my interest."

The 'All of Us Strangers' star has repeatedly said he is feeling the pressure of ensuring the movie is a box office hit.

He explained: “The decision feels incredibly appropriate. There’s also so much I can learn. This is the first time I’ve felt concerned about something like box office performance — a completely new kind of pressure for me. Ridley directs with a distinct, rapid pace that’s both dynamic and impressive. His clarity in knowing exactly what he wants is reminiscent of sports, satisfying in a similar way.”

Paul - who fights with baboons in the flick - previously admitted he was feeling both "stressed" and "excited" about landing his biggest role to date in the sequel.

Speaking to Esquire magazine prior to the Hollywood actors strike, Paul explained: "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. 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.”

When asked if he had spoken to Russell Crowe - the star of the first 'Gladiator' film - he said he hadn't and added: "I don’t know what we would talk about. Like, I’d love to hear his stories from filming, but the character is, like, totally separate."

'Gladiator 2' is slated for release on November 22, 2024.

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