Russell Crowe wanted to walk away from Gladiator over script
Russell Crowe reveals that he wanted to walk about from Ridley Scott’s Gladiator over concerns about the “absolute rubbish” script.
Ridley Scott’s Gladiator was a huge success. Ridley Scott’s Gladiator starred Russell Crowe as Maximus, a Roman general who is betrayed by the son of the Emperor and forced to become a gladiator. The historical epic was a huge success, becoming one of the highest-grossing films of the year and taking home the Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Actor, and more. However, it’s no secret that the production of Gladiator was quite troubled and Russell Crowe even told Vanity Fair that he considered walking away from the movie.
Russell Crowe knew that Gladiator had great potential, but the script for the movie just wasn’t in the best shape when they started production. “I was confident about my abilities as a leading man. What I wasn’t confident about with Gladiator was the world that was surrounding me,” Crowe explained. “At the core of what we were doing was a great concept, but the script, it was rubbish. Absolute rubbish. It had all these sort of strange sequences, and one of them was about chariots and famous gladiators [who] use certain types of chariots, and some famous gladiators had endorsement deals with products for olive oil and things like that, and it’s all true, but it’s just not going to ring right to a modern audience. They’re going to go, ‘What the f— is all this?’ The energy around what we were doing was very fractured. I did think, a couple times, maybe my best option is just to get on a plane and get out of here, you know?“
It was “continued conversations” with Ridley Scott that gave him the faith to keep moving forward. “He said to me at some point in time, ‘We’re not committing anything to camera that you don’t believe in, 100 percent. So, when we actually started that film, we had 21 pages of the script that we agreed on,” Crowe said. “A script is usually between 103 or 104, 110 pages, something like that, so we had a long way to go, and we basically used up those pages in the first section of the movie. So, by the time we got to our second location, which was Morocco, we were sort of catching up.“
We’ll soon be returning to the world of Gladiator as Ridley Scott is working on the long-belated sequel. The film is set to star Paul Mescal as Lucius, with Denzel Washington and Barry Keoghan also said to be part of the cast. Russell Crowe isn’t involved in the Gladiator sequel, but he did express a slight amount of jealousy about the experience Mescal has ahead of him. Gladiator 2 will hit theaters on November 22, 2024.