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Paul Mescal Stars in Epic ‘Gladiator II’ Sequel Trailer

The gods have spoken.

On Tuesday, Paramount released the first trailer for “Gladiator II,” Ridley Scott’s epic sequel to the Oscar-winning 2000 film “Gladiator.” The new movie, set for release on November 22 and already generating Oscar buzz, stars Best Actor nominee Paul Mescal, Emmy nominee Pedro Pascal, and Oscar winner Denzel Washington. Original “Gladiator” star Connie Nielsen also returns to her role from the previous film. Paramount has provided a plot summary:

From legendary director Ridley Scott, Gladiator II continues the epic saga of power, intrigue, and vengeance set in Ancient Rome. Years after witnessing the death of the revered hero Maximus (Russell Crowe) at the hands of his uncle (Joaquin Phoenix), Lucius (Paul Mescal) is forced to enter the Colosseum after his home is conquered by the tyrannical Emperors who now lead Rome with an iron fist. With rage in his heart and the future of the Empire at stake, Lucius must look to his past to find strength and honor to return the glory of Rome to its people.

As shown in the trailer, Lucius is the son of Lucilla (Nielsen) and, similar to Crowe’s Maximus in the original film, he ends up in the Roman Colosseum as a gladiator after suffering a great personal loss. Lucius’s battle with Pascal’s Marcus Acacius, a Roman general who fought alongside Maximus, climaxes the trailer and teases Acacius’s potential demise.

“It’s brutal, man. I call him Brick Wall Paul,” Pascal previously told Vanity Fair about that confrontation. “He got so strong. I would rather be thrown from a building than have to fight him again. To go up against somebody that fit and that talented and that much younger…. Outside of Ridley being a total genius, Paul is a big reason as to why I would put my poor body through that experience.”

The original “Gladiator” was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won five: Best Picture, Best Actor for Crowe, Best Sound, Best Costume Design, and Best Visual Effects. Other key nominations included Best Supporting Actor for Phoenix and Best Director for Scott. But despite the film’s overwhelming success, the legendary filmmaker failed to win his category, instead losing to Steven Soderbergh for “Traffic” (one of Soderbergh’s two nominations for Best Director that year with the other being for “Erin Brockovich”). Scott, of course, has never won an Oscar either as a director or producer despite a lauded career that includes “Alien,” “Blade Runner,” “The Martian,” and “American Gangster.”

Source: Paramount