As unlikely as it may seem, the world was once quite close to having a sequel to ‘Gladiator’ written by Nick Cave. And not some quick knock off either – Ridley Scott would have been back directing and Russell Crowe would have starred once again (despite his character dying in the first film).
Discussing the sequel project back in 2009, Scott told UGO.com: “We tried [to work with Cave's screenplay]. 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. [As a piece of] 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 [Crowe's character] back from the dead’”.
But what was that story? Well, in a recent edition of US comedian Mark Maron’s ‘WTF’ podcast, Cave has discussed the script, explaining (via Den Of Geek): “[Crowe] rang me up and asked if I wanted to write ‘Gladiator 2′. For someone who had only written one film script, it was quite an ask. ‘Hey Russell, didn’t you die in ‘Gladiator 1′?’ ‘Yeah, you sort that out’. So, he goes down 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 so they send Gladiator back to kill Christ and his followers”.
He continued: “I wanted to call it ‘Christ Killer’, and in the end you find out that the main guy was his 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. It was a stone cold masterpiece. I enjoyed writing it very much because I knew on every level that it was never going to get made. Let’s call it a popcorn dropper”.
Amazing. Listen to the full podcast here.