Paul Mescal offered ‘Gladiator II’ after meeting Ridley Scott for 30 minutes

Paul Mescal was offered a role in ‘Gladiator II’ after meeting its director Ridley Scott for only half-an-hour.

The ‘Normal People’ actor, 28, had already made ‘Blade Runner’ filmmaker Ridley, 86, a fan thanks to his role in the raunchy BBC drama, and said their first meeting went smoothly as they ended up talking about his past playing Gaelic football.

Paul told Vanity Fair: “We spoke for about 20 to 30 minutes. I wanted to get a flavour from him about what the story was going to be about, so we spent about 15 minutes talking about that, and then we spent another 10 minutes talking about the sport that I played growing up – Gaelic football.

“Maybe that was something that helped with it, in that I’m used to being physical in my body.

“My memory of it is that probably two or three weeks later, the offer came in.”

Paul will play Lucius – the son of Connie Nielsen’s Lucilla – in the ‘Gladiator’ sequel, which picks up with him living as a young adult in the northern African region of Numidia, where he was sent by his mother as a child as it was just outside the reach of the Roman Empire.

Lucius is then brought back to Rome as a gladiator where he makes fresh enemies and reunites with his mum.

Paul added about why he thought he was a fit for the part: “My nose just is kind of Roman. So it’s useful in this context.

“The nose that I absolutely hated when I was in secondary school – and used to get ribbed for – became very, very useful when Ridley needed somebody to be in ‘Gladiator II’.”

Ridley’s sequel will also star Pedro Pascal, 49, as Marcus Acacius, a Roman general who trained under the command of Maximus Decimus Meridius, portrayed by Russell Crowe in the original ‘Gladiator’ film.

Denzel Washington, 69, will play as Macrinus, a rich Roman powerbroker who keeps a stable of gladiators for sport, while Joseph Quinn, 30, and Fred Hechinger, 24, star as the twin emperors of Rome.

Paul added about bulking up for his role in the film, due out in November: “I 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.

“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.

“It has an impact on you psychologically in a way that is useful for the film.”