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Gladiator II
Image via Paramount

‘Your granny, mom, wife, and daughter all think he’s attractive’: A generational hottie is stealing Paul Mescal and Pedro Pascal’s thunder after the ‘Gladiator II’ trailer

That's some seasoned rizz.

There is a fair share of ruggedly handsome men in the cast of Gladiator II, but we’re willing to bet Ridley Scott didn’t imagine Denzel Washington would be the one causing the most commotion when two of the last decade’s biggest heartthrobs are leading the charge in the Ancient Rome blockbuster (and wearing minimal clothing while doing so, too).

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Don’t get us wrong, Denzel is one of the finest actors to ever do it (and we mean that in both senses of the word), but to steal Mescal and Pascal’s thunder at 69 years old is still pretty impressive.

It turns out that all it took for the Gladiator II conversation to become all about Denzel was for the award-winning actor to get a buzzcut, a hoop hearing, flash the smug grin that has become an immediate sign of a banging performance, and flex his signature New York accent. Now, the internet is confidently reminding everyone that the Training Day maestro has always been a looker.

“Denzel outlasted all the sex symbols. Your granny, mom, wife, and daughter all think he’s attractive,” one X user very accurately described — a sentiment shared by another fan who noted the actor’s generational appeal. “The way his name was a synonym for handsome in black popular culture,” he noted.

The thirsting goes on. Like fine wine, as they say.

Denzel plays Macrinus in the Ridley Scott sequel to the 2000 mega-hit — a supporting character who will seemingly manipulate Mescal’s protagonist Lucius into doing his bidding as he attempts to destabilize the Roman Empire of Caracalla and Geta (Joseph Quinn and Fred Hechinger). Marcinus is an influential power broker and arms dealer who Ridley describes as “pretty [expletive] cruel.”

There is no doubt the New York native stands out in the clip. Even seconds-long scenes and dialogue, roughly cut to fit the rhythm of a fast-paced trailer, are enough for Denzel to make a lasting impression. That kind of power is exclusive to a small, very gifted group of artists.

Gladiator II hits theaters globally on Nov. 15, and a week later, on Nov. 22, in the United States and Canada.

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Francisca Tinoco
Francisca is a pop culture enthusiast and film expert. Her Bachelor's Degree in Communication Sciences from Nova University in Portugal and Master's Degree in Film Studies from Oxford Brookes University in the UK have allowed her to combine her love for writing with her love for the movies. She has been a freelance writer and content creator for five years, working in both the English and Portuguese languages for various platforms, including WGTC.