Pedro Pascal Reveals the Nickname He Gave “Gladiator II” Costar Paul Mescal for Getting 'So Strong'

Said Mescal during the same 'Vanity Fair' chat, "one could, in striving for that perfect look, end up looking more like an underwear model than a warrior"

<p>Aidan Monaghan/Paramount Pictures</p> Paul Mescal and Pedro Pascal in <em>Gladiator II</em> (2024)

Aidan Monaghan/Paramount Pictures

Paul Mescal and Pedro Pascal in Gladiator II (2024)

Pedro Pascal was wowed by his Gladiator II costar Paul Mescal's transformation for the film.

In an interview for a first look at the Ridley Scott-directed sequel, Pascal told Vanity Fair that the battle scenes between his character, Marcus Acacius, and Mescal's Lucius Verus were "brutal" to film.

"I call him Brick Wall Paul,” Pascal, 49, said of Mescal, 28. “He got so strong. I would rather be thrown from a building than have to fight him again."

Added the Last of Us actor, "To go up against somebody that fit and that talented and that much younger ... Outside of Ridley being a total genius, Paul is a big reason as to why I would put my poor body through that experience.”

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<p>Aidan Monaghan/Paramount Pictures</p> Paul Mescal in <em>Gladiator II</em> (2024)

Aidan Monaghan/Paramount Pictures

Paul Mescal in Gladiator II (2024)

Related: A Ripped Paul Mescal Fights a Warrior Riding a Rhino in CinemaCon's Thrilling First Look at Gladiator 2

Mescal, meanwhile, previously admitted to being nervous about meeting Pascal at all, telling Esquire last year that he was "too afraid to go up to" the Mandalorian actor upon encountering him.

Thankfully, Pascal was not nervous, and approached Mescal when they crossed paths at LAX airport in Los Angeles.

“He came up and just seemed so genuine,” Mescal said, adding that he was “really looking forward to hanging out with" Pascal.

<p>Aitor Rosas Sune/WWD via Getty</p> Paul Mescal on June 17, 2024

Aitor Rosas Sune/WWD via Getty

Paul Mescal on June 17, 2024

In Gladiator II, Mescal is set to play leading role Lucius, the son of the original 2000 Gladiator's Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) and nephew of villain Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), who grows to idolize Maximus (Russell Crowe) as he fights in Rome's gladiator rings throughout the movie.

According to Vanity Fair, Pascal's new character, Acacius, is "a Roman general said to have trained as a junior officer under" Maximus.

<p>Aidan Monaghan/Paramount Pictures</p> Pedro Pascal in <em>Gladiator II</em> (2024)

Aidan Monaghan/Paramount Pictures

Pedro Pascal in Gladiator II (2024)

Related: Russell Crowe Admits He Feels 'A Tinge of Jealousy' About Gladiator II

Aside from Mescal and Pascal, the movie also stars Denzel Washington, Fred Hechinger and Pascal's Fantastic Four costar Joseph Quinn, as well as Nielsen, 58, and Derek Jacobi, who reprise their roles from the original Gladiator.

Speaking about his training for the sequel, Mescal told Vanity Fair he focused on fight choreography and "just wanted to be big and strong and look like somebody who can cause a bit of damage when s--- hits the fan."

“I think also, sometimes, one could, in striving for that perfect look, end up looking more like an underwear model than a warrior," said the Oscar nominee.

“Muscles start to grow, and that can be deemed aesthetic in certain capacities, but there is something about feeling strong in your body that elicits just a different feeling. You carry yourself differently,” he added. “It has an impact on you psychologically in a way that is useful for the film.”

Gladiator II is in theaters Nov. 22.

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