Miles Teller and Austin Butler Lost out on Major Movie Role

Paul Mescal, who starred in Hulu's Normal People and gave an incredible performance in Aftersun, will lead Ridley Scott's long-awaited sequel to Gladiator. Miles Teller and Elvis star Austin Butler were reportedly being considered for the part, but Scott chose to go with an actor who is not a superstar yet. The original Gladiator hit theaters in 2000 and won five Oscars.

Mescal is in negotiations to lead Gladiator 2, which is set up at Paramount, reports Deadline. Scott is also producing with Scott Free President Michael Pruss, and Red Wagon Entertainment's Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher. David Scarpa, who worked with Scott on All the Money in the World and the upcoming Napoleon, wrote the script. While the original Gladiator centered on Russell Crowe's Maximus, Gladiator 2 will instead center on Lucius, the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) and nephew of Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix).

Spencer Treat Clark, who was 13 when he played Lucius in Gladiator, has continued acting in Hollywood, but it does not appear that he was considered to reprise the role. The Hollywood Reporter's Borys Kit tweeted that Teller, Butler, Timothee Chalamet, and Game of Thrones' Richard Madden were among the actors "chasing" or "being chased" for the part. Deadline's Justin Kroll tweeted that Butler pulled out of the running because he wanted to take a break after making Masters of The Air, Dune Part Two, and The Bikeriders without a break. This left Mescal, Teller, and Chalamet in the running. Ultimately, Scott decided to go with an actor who "wasn't quite a star yet" for the part.

Mescal, 26, began his acting career on the stage. In 2020, he made his television debut with the Hulu limited series Normal People, which earned him an Emmy nomination. Instead of rushing to find a big studio project, Mescal chose to hone his craft in smaller films. Last year, he earned critical acclaim for his performance in Aftersun and starred opposite Emily Watson in God's Creatures. Mescal stars in the upcoming Foe with Saoirse Ronan and Strangers with Claire Foy.

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Scott has been trying to make a sequel to Gladiator for years. In November 2018, Deadline reported that Peter Craig, who worked on The Batman and Top Gun: Maverick, was writing. He was eventually replaced by Scarpa. Scott reportedly told Paramount that he wants to make Gladiator 2 after finishing up Napoleon, which coincidentally stars Phoenix. Now that Mescal has been cast, it looks like Paramount and Scott are ready to entertain us again.