Thu. Jul 25th, 2024
alert-–-gladiator-ii-first-look:-paul-mescal’s-lucius-verus-vows-to-follow-legendary-maximus-out-of-the-fighting-pits-as-enslaved-former-heir-picks-up-the-sword-in-blood-soaked-first-trailer-for-ridley-scott’s-blockbuster-sequelAlert – Gladiator II FIRST LOOK: Paul Mescal’s Lucius Verus vows to follow legendary Maximus out of the fighting pits as enslaved former heir picks up the sword in blood soaked first trailer for Ridley Scott’s blockbuster sequel

Decades have passed, but Maximus Decimus Meridius remains fresh in the memory as Paul Mescal’s Lucius Verus picks up the sword in this first official trailer for Ridley Scott’s eagerly anticipated Gladiator II. 

Normal People star Mescal takes his biggest role to date in this epic historical blockbuster, a blood-and-gore soaked sequel to Scott’s award-winning 2000 triumph, Gladiator.

With Russell Crowe’s legendary Maximus long-since dead and buried, it is vengeful Lucius – the grandson of Rome’s former emperor Marcus Aurelius and son of Lucilla  – who must fight for his liberty after being taken into slavery. 

A former heir to the Roman empire, Lucius is imprisoned by Pedro Pascal’s Marcus Acacius – a feared general who honed his fighting skills under the tutelage of Maximus – and his marauding army of troops. 

Played by a then 12-year old Spencer Treat Clark in Scott’s original film, Lucius is now fully grown and intent on forcing his way out of the notorious fighting pits, at all costs. 

Decades have passed, but Maximus remains fresh in the memory as Paul Mescal 's Lucius picks up the sword in the first official trailer for Ridley Scott's Gladiator II

Decades have passed, but Maximus remains fresh in the memory as Paul Mescal ‘s Lucius picks up the sword in the first official trailer for Ridley Scott’s Gladiator II

Lucius was played by Spencer Treat Clark in the original 2000 blockbuster

Now fully gown, he is played by Paul Mescal in the forthcoming sequel

Lucius was played by Spencer Treat Clark in the original 2000 blockbuster (left), now fully gown, he is played by Paul Mescal in the forthcoming sequel (right) 

Enslaved by the Roman empire and inspired by Maximus (played by Russell Crowe, pictured), Lucius vows to fight his way out of the pits

Enslaved by the Roman empire and inspired by Maximus (played by Russell Crowe, pictured), Lucius vows to fight his way out of the pits

Along the way he encounters and befriends Denzel Washington’s Macrinus, a power broker who keeps a stable of gladiators and sees battle-hungry Lucius as a promising investment. 

‘You have something in you,’ he tells him. ‘I knew it from the start… rage is your gift.’ 

Inspired by the feats of Maximus, Lucius must find his way out of ‘the greatest temple Rome ever built’ in the Colosseum, where sword-wielding soldiers, rampaging rhinos and even Marcus Acacius himself await. 

The new trailer also features Stranger Things star Joseph Quinn and Fred Hechinger as impish Roman co-emperors as Geta and Caracalla, with both bearing a strong resemblance to Marcus Aurelius’ scheming son Commodus, played by Joaquin Phoenix. 

Fans of the original film will remember that Lucius is also the nephew of Commodus, who famously killed his father to seize the throne.

The young emperor subsequently lost his own life while fighting Maximus, who save the young Lucius and his mother while avenging his own wife and son’s death. 

The long-awaited Gladiator sequel will debut 24 years after the original historical film was released to commercial and critical acclaim in 2000.

At the time, Gladiator won five Oscars from its 11 nominations, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Crowe’s portrayal of gladiator Maximus.

David Scarpa scripted the sequel, while Ridley, Douglas Wick, Lucy Fisher, Michael Pruss and David Franzoni produced the film.

A former heir to the Roman empire, Lucius is taken into slavery by Pedro Pascal 's Marcus Acacius and his marauding army of troops

A former heir to the Roman empire, Lucius is taken into slavery by Pedro Pascal ‘s Marcus Acacius and his marauding army of troops

Denzel Washington plays Macrinus, a power broker who keeps a stable of gladiators, among them the enslaved Lucius

Denzel Washington plays Macrinus, a power broker who keeps a stable of gladiators, among them the enslaved Lucius 

Joseph Quinn plays evil co-emperor Geta, a role that has been compared to Joaquin Phoenix's portrayal of traitorous emperor Commodus in Gladiator

Joseph Quinn plays evil co-emperor Geta, a role that has been compared to Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal of traitorous emperor Commodus in Gladiator 

Fred Hechinger plays fellow co-emperor Caracalla, a role originally offered to Barry Keoghan

Fred Hechinger plays fellow co-emperor Caracalla, a role originally offered to Barry Keoghan

Talking to Vanity Fair, Mescal described his character as ‘a very, very good general, which can mean a very good killer.’

‘I just wanted to be big and strong and look like somebody who can cause a bit of damage when sh*t hits the fan,’ he continued about physically preparing for the role. 

‘I think also, sometimes, one could, in striving for that perfect look, end up looking more like an underwear model than a warrior.’

And getting in shape gave Mescal a stronger sense of self.

‘Muscles start to grow, and that can be deemed aesthetic in certain capacities, but there is something about feeling strong in your body that elicits just a different feeling. 

‘You carry yourself differently,’ the Aftersun actor noted. ‘It has an impact on you psychologically in a way that is useful for the film.’ 

Mescal previously admitted he couldn’t resist the opportunity to play Lucius after starring in a string of predominantly British features. 

He told AnOther Magazine: ‘Gladiator II comes across your desk and there’s no way you say no to it.’

To earn his freedom, Lucius must fight his way out of the notorious Roman Coliseum

To earn his freedom, Lucius must fight his way out of the notorious Roman Coliseum 

Epic battle scenes fill the first official trailer, among them a frenetic boat battle

Epic battle scenes fill the first official trailer, among them a frenetic boat battle 

Pascal's Marcus Acacius is a feared general who once trained under

Pascal’s Marcus Acacius is a feared general who once trained under Maximus 

Joseph Quinn as Geta

Fred Hechinger as Caracalla

Joseph Quinn as Geta (left) and Fred Hechinger as Caracalla (right) in first look images from the forthcoming film

Mescal has described his character as 'a very, very good general, which can mean a very good killer'

Mescal has described his character as ‘a very, very good general, which can mean a very good killer’

Tragedy appears to strike for Lucius, with the warrior cradling a dead comrade in another scene from the new trailer

Tragedy appears to strike for Lucius, with the warrior cradling a dead comrade in another scene from the new trailer 

Lucius is confronted by nemesis Marcus Acacius as they do battle in a body-strewn fighting pit

Lucius is confronted by nemesis Marcus Acacius as they do battle in a body-strewn fighting pit 

But with this scale of film, and to work with Ridley Scott, it’s a no-brainer. Up until this point there have been very few larger films that remotely interested me.’

He added: ‘It feels really right. And also there’s the capacity to learn. It’s the first time that I’ve felt a pressure of, “God, I’m worried about box office receipts.” It’s a different metric. 

‘But Ridley shoots at a very different rhythm – he’s quick and it’s kinetic and wonderful. He knows exactly what he wants. It honestly reminds me of sport in a way that is really satisfying.’

Gladiator II is released on November 15 in the United Kingdom and November 22 in the United States. 

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