Russell Crowe: I’m ‘slightly uncomfortable’ with Gladiator 2

<span>‘There’s definitely a tinge of jealousy’ … Russell Crowe in Gladiator. </span><span>Photograph: Dreamworks/Sportsphoto/Allstar</span>
‘There’s definitely a tinge of jealousy’ … Russell Crowe in Gladiator. Photograph: Dreamworks/Sportsphoto/Allstar

Russell Crowe has said that he’s “slightly uncomfortable” with the concept of a sequel to Gladiator in which he doesn’t feature.

Crowe, who played the lead character in Ridley Scott’s 2000 hit, winning him a best actor Oscar, will not appear in the belated follow-up, due for release this Christmas.

Instead, the film focuses on Paul Mescal, who plays the grandson of Richard Harris’s Emperor Marcus Aurelius from the first film, who was killed by his son, played by Joaquin Phoenix. Crowe’s character was killed by Phoenix’s at the end of the film.

In a new interview on the US podcast Kyle Meredith With …, Crowe said: “I’m slightly uncomfortable, the fact that they’re making another one, you know? Because of course, I’m dead, and I have no say in what gets done.

“A couple of things that I’ve heard, I’m like, ‘No, no, no. That’s not in the moral journey of that particular character.’ But you know, I can’t say anything. That’s not my place. I’m six feet under. So we’ll see what that is like.”

Related: ‘All for art’: why Russell Crowe shot Robin Hood for a month with two broken legs

The new film is one of the key releases of the year, with many hoping both it and the Joker sequel may help tempt audiences back to the cinema, after a notably flat first six months. Returning cast members include Derek Jacobi and Connie Nielsen.

Meanwhile Denzel Washington, Pedro Pascal and Joseph Quinn join the cast for the film, which was largely shot in Italy this year, but completed some reshoots in Sussex earlier this week.

Crowe, 60, springboarded from Gladiator to films such as Master and Commander, Robin Hood and Les Misérables and will shortly be seen in horror The Exorcism as well as Marvel’s Kraven the Hunter, a biopic of Mark Rothko and historical drama Nuremberg.

He added on the podcast that the forthcoming film had prompted him to look back on his career.

“I reflect back on the age I was when I made that film and all the things that came after it and the doors that particular movie opened for me,” he said. “So there’s definitely a tinge – and this is just being purely honest – a tinge of melancholy, a tinge of jealousy. Because I remember when I had tendons.”