‘Rage is your gift’: Paul Mescal battles Pedro, Denzel and a rhino in first Gladiator II trailer

Estimated read time 3 min read

The first trailer for one of the autumn’s most hotly anticipated films has arrived. Gladiator II, Ridley Scott’s sequel to his 2000 Oscar-conquering epic, is due in cinemas in November, but the promotional reel offers the first look proper at Paul Mescal, who has stepped into Russell Crowe’s sandals.

Mescal plays Lucius, son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) and the late Lucius Verus, who remembers watching the doomed heroics of Crowe’s Maximus in the first movie. Inspired by his courage, the enslaved Lucius vows to defeat new preening emperors Caracalla (Joseph Quinn) and Geta (Fred Hechinger).

In his way – or, possibly, giving him a bit of a leg-up – are Denzel Washington’s slave owner and power broker, Macrinus, who Scott has described as “pretty fucking cruel” to the arena fighters, as well as Pedro Pascal’s Roman general, Marcus Acacius.

Pascal has described his character as “a very, very good general, which can mean a very good killer”; trained under Maximus, his push to invade north Africa puts him firmly in the crosshairs of Lucius, who Macrinus identifies as being so full of animus that “rage is your gift”.

Mescal bulked up considerably for the role, earning the nickname “Brick Wall Paul”, courtesy of Pascal. “He got so strong,” Pascal said of his co-star. “I would rather be thrown from a building than have to fight him again.”

Mescal and Pascal in Gladiator II.View image in fullscreen

Also featuring in the trailer are brief glimpses of Tim McInnerny and a returning Derek Jacobi, lots and lots of swords, arrows, ships, crowds, water, shouting and a massive bloodstained rhinoceros Lucius must defeat.

The trailer also offers a preview of the stirring soundtrack – again composed by Hans Zimmer, as well as a snatch of a reworking of No Church in the Wild by Kanye West and Jay Z, featuring the apposite lyrics: “Tears on the mausoleum floor / Blood stains the Colosseum doors.”

Filming began last June but was interrupted by the actors’ strike in the US, before resuming in December and ending in January, some brief reshoots last month in Sussex notwithstanding.

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The film is in UK cinemas on 15 November and out in the US a week later, where it shares a release date with the movie of the musical Wicked, which has moved forward a week to avoid competition with Moana 2.

The potential double bill has led many to predict another Barbenheimer marketing drive, though a decision on the portmanteau name – Wickiator or Gladicked – appears pending.

Source: theguardian.com

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