Gladiator is a classic movie that I imagine pretty much everyone reading this must have seen at least once – it was a critical as well as a commercial success and is just one of those movies that everyone knows about.
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If you haven’t actually seen it and don’t want it spoiled then don’t read anymore of this post. The movie basically ends with Russell Crowe’s character Maximus gaining revenge on Joaquin Phoenix’s character Commodus by killing him, but he unfortunately ends up dying himself in the process. As such, there didn’t seem like there was going to be much chance of a sequel.
Despite this, Russell Crowe and the film’s director Ridley Scott – as well as all the Hollywood big shots out there of course, who just thought with dollar signs – were still keen to try and make something happen. Bizarrely, Crowe and Scott turned to Australian singer and scriptwriter Nick Cave to try and make this happen and the resulting script doesn’t sound anything like the original movie.
It begins with Maximus in the afterlife being granted the chance to be reunited with his dead wife and son if he returns to Earth and kills Christians for the Roman Gods. However, it quickly conspires that Maximus’ son is still alive and a Christian himself, so he convinces Maximus to wage war against the Gods instead. It then ends with Maximus being granted eternal life, with a montage of him fighting in Vietnam, World War I and finally ending up as some kind of bigwig in the Pentagon.
Yeah, doesn’t sound much like the original eh? It was apparently called Christ Killer and if you’ve got a spare 90 minutes you can read the whole thing over on Scribd.com. It’s a hell of a ride.
Unfortunately for Cave, Russell Crowe said he didn’t like it upon the first time he read it and that was that. Scott was a bit more interested, but ultimately didn’t seem that enthused, saying the following:
Russell didn’t want to let it go, obviously, because it worked very well. When I say, ‘worked very well’, I don’t refer to success.
I mean, as a piece it works very well. Storytelling, [it] works brilliantly. I think [Cave] enjoyed doing it, and I think it was one of those things that he thought, ‘Well, maybe there’s a sequel where we can adjust the fantasy and bring [Maximus] back from the dead.
I think he’s trying to say Russell Crowe didn’t like it as a sequel for Gladiator but kinda thought that it might work on its own? Or something? Not sure as the two statements seem to be pretty contradictory there.
Either way, it doesn’t look like this version of Gladiator is ever going to be made or released – probably something we can be thankful for. For more scripts, check out this story about a builder who found the original script for The Godfather. Lucky find.