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Paul Mescal Had One Specific Goal With His Gladiator 2 Body Transformation

While few concrete details about the sequel have been released, we do know that “Gladiator 2” doesn’t feature a key survivor, Djimon Honsou’s Juba, from the first flick. Instead of bringing back old favorites, Ridley Scott has opted to tap new actors, including “Last of Us” star Pedro Pascal, to headline the new pic. Pascal plays the scorned Marcus Acacius, who is forced to fight Lucius for our entertainment. Though he’s not in the first film, Acacius is said to have trained under Russell Crowe’s Maximus, which is what makes him such a beast in the arena. Pascal has tons of experience with action sequences thanks to his performances in projects like “Game of Thrones” and “The Equalizer 2,” but fighting the beefed-up Mescal was a notable challenge.

“He got so strong. I would rather be thrown from a building than have to fight him again,” Pascal told Vanity Fair about his battle sequences with the Lucius star. “To go up against somebody that fit and that talented and that much younger…It’s brutal, man,” the 49-year-old said. Pascal even came up with a cheeky nickname for Mescal, playfully dubbing him “Brick Wall Paul.” Having to face off against Mescal was inspiring, and Pascal says seeing his co-star get so fit motivated him to keep up during production.

We may not fully know what happens in the upcoming sequel,” but we do know what not to expect from it. Read Looper’s breakdown of Nick Cave’s abandoned “Gladiator 2” script, which featured Maximus in the afterlife.

“Gladiator 2” hits theaters on November 22.

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