Photo: Dreamworks Pictures
Way back in 2000 when Russell Crowe was still marketable, the movie Gladiator was released and of course it was a massive success, reeling in five Oscars, including Best Actor and Best Picture. But all of you who have seen this movie know that Crowe, who plays Maximus Decimus Meridius, a leader of the Roman army before he is sold into slavery following the murder of his family, dies at the hands of Joaquin Phoenix’s character, Commodus.
Yes, Maximus dies. He kills Commodus, but eventually crumbles to an early knife wound. And that’s that. But since Hollywood likes to milk cash out of everything, a sequel was talked about starting in 2001. At first the idea was a prequel, but then one year later it became a sequel set 15 years in the future. That’s right. Crowe even began studying Roman beliefs of the afterlife to see if it allowed him to play the role of Maximus again.
Nick Cave, a screenwriter, was approached by Crowe and director Ridley Scott to write this sequel. And let’s just say that once the internet got word of Cave’s idea’s it was scratching its head.
Thanks to the LADbible, here’s what Cave’s idea for a Gladiator sequel would have been:
The movie would have opened with Maximus in the afterlife where he’s offered the chance to be with his family again, but only if he protects and defends all Christians on earth. But wait, there’s more.
Maximus finds out that his son is still alive (miraculously after being left a charred corpse in the first film) and is very religious. His son convinces him to betray the gods and declare war against them. Hold on, it keeps going.
He’s then granted eternal life and you get a Wolverine style plot where Maximus fights in World War Two and Vietnam before winding up in the Pentagon.
What in the hell? Yes, that was Cave’s idea. And Crowe’s response: “Don’t like it, mate.”
Here’s what Scott once told the Guardian about this whole debacle:
“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.'”
But hey, Hollywood pushed out three Smurfs movies, so anything is possible.