Paul Mescal worked out so much for Gladiator 2, Pedro Pascal nicknamed him "Brick Wall Paul"

Paul Mescal in Aftersun
(Image credit: A24)

Paul Mescal worked out so much for Gladiator 2, his co-star Pedro Pascal nicknamed him "Brick Wall Paul" on set.

In an exclusive interview with Vanity Fair, with which the publication released a whole bunch of first-look stills from the sequel, the Last of Us star got candid about what it was like going toe to toe with the Normal People actor.

"It [was] brutal, man. I call him Brick Wall Paul," Pascal confessed. "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..." he laughed. "Outside of Ridley [Scott] being a total genius, Paul is a big reason as to why I would put my poor body through that experience."

The Last of Us

(Image credit: HBO)

Elsewhere in the feature, Pascal revealed that his character, Roman general Marcus Acacius, has a connection to Russell Crowe's Maximus Decimus Meridius from the 2000 original having trained as junior officer underneath him. Mescal plays Lucius, the heir to the former Empire, and son of Connie Nielsen's noblewoman Lucilla from the first flick. Joseph Quinn, Fred Hechinger, Derek Jacobi, and Denzel Washington also star. 

Scott directs, working from a script by his Napoleon collaborator David Scarpa.

Before now, not much was known about the follow-up's plot, but the Vanity Fair article revealed it'll see Lucius's past come back to haunt him when conquerors start coming for his home, and family. Arcadius, it turns out, is the one leading the charge on Numidia.

Gladiator 2 releases on November 15 in the UK, and November 22 in the US. For more, check out our list of the most exciting upcoming movies heading our way in 2024.

Amy West

I am an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things TV and film across our Total Film and SFX sections. Elsewhere, my words have been published by the likes of Digital Spy, SciFiNow, PinkNews, FANDOM, Radio Times, and Total Film magazine.