Ridley Scott knows how to resurrect Maximus Decimus Meridius (Russell Crowe) for a Gladiator sequel. It’s been 17 years since the somewhat divisive Best Picture winner came out, but Scott still has the desire to bring Maximus back from the dead. Unfortunately, the sequel he envisions today probably isn’t the bonkers Gladiator 2 script Nick Cave wrote.
Below, read Scott’s thoughts on a Gladiator sequel.
After presenting a screening of Alien at the SXSW Film Festival, Entertainment Weekly asked Scott whether a Gladiator 2 was still of interest for him, and how he’d make a sequel about Maximus. His reply:
I know how to bring him back. I was having this talk with the studio — ‘but he's dead.’ But there is a way of bringing him back. Whether it will happen I don't know. Gladiator was 2000, so Russell's changed a little bit. He's doing something right now but I'm trying to get him back down here.
Crowe doesn’t have any current projects listed publicly, but how and when Scott would even find the time for a Gladiator sequel is another question. The director is already eyeing another Alien sequel next year, and he might even make more sequels afterward if Covenant is a success. That plan could fall through, of course, and free up time for other films, but the prospect of a Gladiator 2 still can’t help but seem unlikely at best.
At one point, screenwriter John Logan was working on a sequel that took place before and after the events of Gladiator. In 2002, Crowe began contemplating Maximus in the afterlife, which is the story he asked to Cave write. The actor wasn’t a fan of the finished script, titled Christ Killer, but Cave certainly made it sound ambitious:
[He] goes to purgatory and is sent down by the gods, who are dying in heaven because there's this one god, there's this Christ character, down on Earth who is gaining popularity. And so the many gods are dying, and they send Gladiator back to kill Christ and all his followers…. The main guy was [Maximus'] son, so he has to kill his son and he was tricked by the gods. He becomes this eternal warrior and it ends with this 20 minute war scene which follows all the wars in history, right up to Vietnam and all that sort of stuff. And… it was wild.
Creative differences prevented previous iterations of the Gladiator sequel from gaining momentum. At one point, DreamWorks wanted to show Rome through the eyes of Maximus and Lucilla’s (Connie Nielsen) son. Scott thought that “rambling and complex” story – the road to Rome’s demise – was too detached from Gladiator‘s simplicity.
The Best Picture winner was the first of five collaborations between Crowe and Scott. They last worked together on Robin Hood, which isn’t their finest hour. It’d be great to see them together again, especially for an original movie…or even a Gladiator sequel.
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