Paul Mescal Recalls Being 'Too Afraid' to Meet Pedro Pascal Before Making 'Gladiator 2' Together

The Irish actor is “really looking forward to hanging out with" Pascal as they work on the long-awaited sequel together

Paul Mescal is just like us: flustered by Pedro Pascal!

The 27-year-old Irish actor may be gearing up to play a combat-heavy role in Gladiator 2 but off-screen he doesn't battle in gladiator rings — he wrestles with nerves.

In a newly-published interview with Esquire, conducted before the SAG-AFTRA strike, Mescal revealed that upon encountering Pedro Pascal — his costar in the long-awaited followup to Ridley Scott's 2000 historical drama — he was “too afraid to go up to him.”

Related: Paul Mescal Got 'Gladiator 2' Role After Producers Saw Him Shirtless in a Play: 'It Was Electric'

Thankfully, Pascal, 48, was not, and approached the Aftersun star when they crossed paths at the LAX airport.

“He came up and just seemed so genuine,” Mescal said of The Last of Us star, adding that he is “really looking forward to hanging out with him.”

<p>FilmMagic/FilmMagic</p> Pedro Pascal, who is set to star in 'Gladiator 2' in an unspecified role.


Pedro Pascal, who is set to star in 'Gladiator 2' in an unspecified role.

While Pascal's role is still a mystery, Mescal is set to play leading role Lucius, the son of the original 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.

Related: Paul Mescal Says Oscar Nomination Has Given Family a 'Welcome Respite' amid Mom's Chemotherapy Treatment

The actor — who catapulted to fame in 2020 following his starring role in Normal People as sweet, shy heartthrob Connell — also revealed that he has not yet spoken with Crowe, the face of Gladiator.

"I don’t know what we would talk about,” he told Esquire.

The Oscar nominee added that he would “love to hear” Crowe’s stories from filming but said that their characters are “totally separate.”

Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE's free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories.

Mescal nabbed his Gladiator 2 role in a slightly unconventional way.

Paramount motion picture co-head Daria Cercek revealed to Variety that the producers' decision to bring the actor on board was influenced in part by the reaction he got during the West End revival of A Streetcar Named Desire.

“He played Stanley, and there are several moments where he takes off his shirt and it was electric,” Cercek told the outlet, noting that “the ladies in the audience were very vocal.”

“We were like, ‘I think we’ve found our guy,’” she said.

<p>Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty</p> Paul Mescal, who is set to star in 'Gladiator 2' as Lucius.

Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty

Paul Mescal, who is set to star in 'Gladiator 2' as Lucius.

Related: Paul Mescal on Who He Is Most Excited to Meet on Oscar Night: 'I'm a Crazy Michelle Williams Fan'

Before his run-in with Pascal at LAX, Mescal encountered another A-lister during his "electric" stint in A Streetcar Named Desire.

During a March appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, the actor revealed that he was caught backstage with his pants down by none other than Nicole Kidman.

Mescal told host Jimmy Kimmel that he was sharing a dressing room with two castmates when they heard a knock on the door while they were changing.

"We thought it was the stage manager or something and I go to open the door," the actor recalled. "It's Nicole Kidman, and I'm standing there in, like, sweaty underwear."

Related: Normal People's Paul Mescal Says He Felt 'Objectified' by Fans of the Sexy Hulu Show

According to Mescal, he didn't even know Kidman, 56, was at the show.

"You'd think the next smart step is [to] put on some trousers, but there's something incredibly undignified about the act of [pulling up pants],” he continued.

“It's not a look you want to be caught in, [bending] over.”

For more People news, make sure to sign up for our newsletter!

Read the original article on People.