He rose to fame playing the shy, sensitive Connell in Normal People, but actor Paul Mescal has undergone a stunning physical transformation to star in the film’s upcoming sequel, Gladiator.
The 27-year-old Irish actor looked torn as he walked around central London in his signature O’Neills Gaelic football shorts after hitting the gym last week.
He’s currently on hiatus from filming the follow-up to Russell Crowe’s 2000 Oscar-winning epic, with production on hold due to the Hollywood actors’ strike.
Mescal will reportedly earn £6million if he takes on the lead role in the blockbuster, playing Lucius, the secret son of Crowe’s character Maximus, who died at the end of the first film.
He will star alongside Denzel Washington, whose character has not yet been revealed, who is believed to be a slave and landowner who harbors a grudge against the emperor.
Paul Mascal looked torn as he walked around central London in his signature Gaelic football shorts from O’Neills after hitting the gym last week
Mescal will reportedly earn £6million if he takes on the lead role in the blockbuster, in which he plays Lucius, the secret son of Crowe’s character Maximus
Paul Mascal as Connell opposite Daisy Edgar-Jones in the BBC Three adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People.
A source in Hollywood familiar with the film, due out next fall, said: “Paul has been training for months.” He goes to the gym almost daily to tone up and a nutritionist advises him on what to eat to achieve maximum muscle growth. All the hard work is clearly paying off.”
Mescal, who grew a beard for the role, showed off his body on social media and delighted fans with pictures of himself pumping iron.
But in an interview earlier this year, the star claimed he had no interest in talking about his muscular looks, saying: “With films like this and superhero films, sometimes the focus is on what I don’t find that interesting.”
“Of course the character requires physical toughness, but I’m not interested beyond that.”
“The guy has to fight and be a beast.” And whatever that looks and feels right to me, that’s what it’s going to be.”
When he starred alongside Daisy Edgar-Jones in the BBC adaptation of Normal People, Mescal became such an overnight sensation that even the necklace he wore around his neck had its own social media account.