The original film starring Russel Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix was one of the biggest films of the 2000s, winning five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Actor, and grossing more than $460 million.
Now, more than two decades later, director Ridley Scott is helming the follow-up to the epic historical drama which will see Mescal star as Lucius, the son of Lucilla (played by Connie Nielsen in the first flick) and nephew of Phoenix’s villain Commodus.
Appearing on the cover of the Autumn issue of Esquire UK, the Irish actor shared his emotions around his casting.
“I can’t tell you how stressed I am talking about that film in particular, because it’s definitely the biggest one I’ve done,” the Normal People star told the publication.
“I feel really excited, but, it’s difficult to get away from the legacy of the film a bit.
“I think it’s really well written and it pays homage to the first one, but it’s very much something that I think I can step into and make comfortably my own.”
When asked if he had reached out to Crowe, who won an Oscar for his turn in the original but is not expected to appear in the new film, it was sadly a no.
“I’d love to hear his stories from filming, Mescal said, “but the character is totally separate.”
The Autumn issue of Esquire UK is on sale from August 24. To read more from the interview visit www.esquire.com/uk/culture/a44806257/paul-mescal-interview/