Paul Mescal worried he looked 'like an underwear model' after buffing up

Paul Mescal buffed up for Gladiator 2 credit:Bang Showbiz
Paul Mescal buffed up for Gladiator 2 credit:Bang Showbiz

Paul Mescal worried he would look "more like an underwear model than a warrior" after transforming his body for 'Gladiator 2'.

The 28-year-old actor landed the starring role in the sequel to Sir Ridley Scott's Oscar-winning 2000 epic and he decided to buff up because he wanted to look "big and strong" to play Lucius Verus in Ancient Rome - and insists he wanted his muscles to be more than just aesthetic.

He told Vanity Fair magazine: "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."

His ripped new body earned him the nickname "Brick Wall Paul" from his co-star Pedro Pascal, who admits their fight scenes were pretty daunting.

Pedro, 49, told the publication: "I call him Brick Wall Paul. He got so strong. I would rather be thrown from a building than have to fight him again.

"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."

It comes after Paul admitted the 'Gladiator' sequel was the first big film he was really interesting in signing up for after shooting to fame in the hit TV adaptation of Sally Rooney's 'Normal People'.

He told AnOther magazine: “The script for 'Gladiator' lands in your lap, and you simply can’t turn it down. Getting to work on a big-scale film like this, especially under the direction of Ridley Scott, is a straightforward decision.

"Until now, I hadn’t really encountered any major movies that piqued my interest."

The 'All of Us Strangers' star has repeatedly said he is feeling the pressure of ensuring the movie is a box office hit. He explained: “The decision feels incredibly appropriate. There’s also so much I can learn.

"This is the first time I’ve felt concerned about something like box office performance - a completely new kind of pressure for me. Ridley directs with a distinct, rapid pace that’s both dynamic and impressive. His clarity in knowing exactly what he wants is reminiscent of sports, satisfying in a similar way.”"