Why isn’t Spencer Treat Clark playing Lucius in ‘Gladiator 2?

Paul Mescal as Lucius in “Gladiator 2” and Spencer Treat Clark as Lucius in “Gladiator.”
Paramount Pictures/Universal Pictures

  • The first trailer for “Gladiator 2” features Paul Mescal as Lucius, battling Marcus Acacius (Peter Pascal).
  • In the original “Gladiator” film, the younger Lucius was played by Spencer Treat Clark.
  • This is why Clark isn’t reprising the role in “Gladiator 2.”

The trailer for the sequel to “Gladiator” dropped on Tuesday, and fans were wondering why Paul Mescal is playing slave fighter Lucius instead of Spencer Treat Clark, who played him in the original.

Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator” starred Russell Crowe as Maximus Decimus Meridius, a former Roman general who is betrayed and sold into slavery. Lucius, the heir to the Roman Empire, watches Maximus fight in the Colosseum.

The 2000 film is one of the most beloved historical epics of all time, winning five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor. This puts a lot of pressure on “Gladiator 2” to live up to the high expectations set by the original.

The first trailer for “Gladiator 2,” due out November 22, suggests that Lucius disappeared after the events of the original film and built a life for himself. But like Maximus, he’s forced to become a fighter when he’s captured by General Marcus Acacius (Pedro Pascal) and his soldiers.

It’s no surprise that Scott Mescal has cast the role of Lucius for the sequel, as the Irish actor has become a rising star following his critically acclaimed performances in “Normal People,” “Aftersun” and “All of Us Strangers.”

But fans of “Gladiator” on social media have said It’s odd that Scott didn’t ask Clark to reprise the role, considering he’s still working as an actor.

Scott said he needed someone younger to play Lucius in “Gladiator 2”

Clark, now 36, also played Joseph Dunn in “Unbreakable” opposite Bruce Willis — a role he later reprised in 2019’s “Glass.” And he’s appeared in several TV shows, including “Agents of SHIELD,” “Animal Kingdom” and “Manhunt.”

Last November, Scott told Deadline that he wanted to cast a younger actor for the role of Lucius in “Gladiator 2” and that he was impressed with Mescal, who is 28, in “Normal People.”

Scott said: “I’m always looking for someone, something new and fresh. I mean, fresh is terribly important. So they don’t carry… baggage is a terrible word for what they’ve done before, because it’s great stuff, but you’ll remember that he’s just done this character.

“I watched a show called ‘Normal People.’ It’s unusual for me, but I saw one and thought, that’s interesting. These actors are really good. I watched the whole damn show and thought, damn.”

He added: “This came at a time when I needed a 23-year-old, 24-year-old to take over the mantle of Lucius. And I just said, ‘Do you want to do it?’ He said, ‘Yes.'”

Representatives for Spencer Treat Clark did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider.

Correction: July 11, 2024 — An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that the first “Gladiator” film won an Oscar for Best Director.

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