Paul Mescal ‘Not Interested’ in Talking about His Gladiator 2 Bulk Up

russell crow in gladiator and paul mescal
Paul Mescal on Gladiator 2 Body TransformationGetty Images

Russell Crowe’s physique for his role as Maximus in the 2000 film Gladiator was nothing short of iconic. In fact, so was everything about his performance – but you knew that already. Not only did the role land the Australian an Oscar for Best Actor, but the film 'echoes in eternity’ as one of the most epic movies ever made (yes, we're big fans).

With Normal People and Aftersun star Paul Mescal recently confirmed as the lead in director Ridley Scott’s much-anticipated sequel, it’s no surprise that discussions have already begun to surface over the inevitable body transformation Mescal will undergo in preparation for the role.

But according to the 27-year-old, that’s not something he’s particularly concerned about.

In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Mescal discussed playing adult Lucius, the nephew of Roman Emperor Commodus, originally played by The Joker star Joaquin Phoenix.

‘With films like this and superhero films, there is sometimes a focus on that, which I don’t find that interesting,’ Mescal said.

‘Of course there’s a physical robustness required for the character, but past that, I’m not interested. 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."’

Regardless, there will be much attention on Mescal as he prepares for the role. Not least because the world is already strangely obsessed with his body – yes, we’re talking about that ‘Connell’s Chain’ Instagram fan account.

It’s said that Crowe dropped 40lbs in preparation for the original Gladiator film. While Mescal’s transformation will naturally look a lot different – The Hollywood Reporter described his current physique as ‘just a bit thicker than a competitive swimmer’s build’ – don’t be surprised if the Mescal we see in the sequel looks quite a bit different to the Mescal we've come to know.

Gladiator 2 is scheduled for release in cinemas in November 2024.

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