LOS ANDELES: The sequel to Ridley Scott's multiple Oscar-winning film ''Gladiator'' has inched closer to reality as the filmmaker is close to finalising the lead actor for the project.
Paul Mescal, the star of ''Normal People'' and indie hit ''Aftersun'', is in negotiations to star in the follow-up, which Scott has set as his next directorial, according to entertainment news outlet Deadline.
A Paramount project, the sequel will be produced by Scott and Michael Pruss as well as Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher. David Scarpa has penned the script.
The original, released in 2000, featured actors Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix and Conie Nielsen in the lead. Crowe played Maximus, the Roman general-turned-gladiator, who avenges the murders of his wife and son.
Set years after the events of the first film, the sequel will focus on Lucius (Mescal), the son of Lucilla (Nielsen) and the nephew of Commodus (Phoenix).
Lucius and Lucilla were saved by Maximus when he defeated Commodus in combat, though he too succumbed to his injuries, allowing him to finally reunite with his murdered wife and son in the afterlife.
Mescal is currently receiving acclaim for his performance in period drama ''Aftersun'' from filmmaker Charlotte Wells. He also featured in ''God's Creatures'' which premiered at the 2022 Cannes Film Festival.