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Home / Hollywood / Russell Crowe says the script for Gladiator was ‘so bad, it was just so bad’

Russell Crowe says the script for Gladiator was ‘so bad, it was just so bad’

Actor Russell Crowe has recalled how terrible the first screenplay for Gladiator was, and that he’d help rewrite the script on set with the director, Ridley Scott.

hollywood Updated: Jun 30, 2020 18:08 IST
HT Entertainment Desk
HT Entertainment Desk
Hindustan Times
Russell Crowe in a still from Gladiator.
Russell Crowe in a still from Gladiator.

Actor Russell Crowe has said that the first script that he read for his Oscar-winning film Gladiator was ‘so bad’. Crowe won an Academy Award for his performance as a widowed Roman general forced to battle in a gladiatorial contest.

“Gladiator was a unique experience because the script that they had was so bad, it was just so bad,” the actor said in an appearance on the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. “The producer didn’t know I’d actually already been able to get a copy but the thing he said is ‘I don’t want to send you the document we have, because you won’t respond to it’.”

Crowe said that he was convinced to sign on by director Ridley Scott, who had the film visualised in his head. “He was so prepared and the things he was showing me and the visual images and the mathematics of how he was going to not have to build an entire Colosseum yet still shoot the Colosseum. And we just clicked on that first meeting,” Crowe said.

This isn’t the first time that the actor has spoken about the shortcomings of the screenplay, which ended up with an Academy Award nomination for writers David Franzoni, John Logan, and William Nicholson. To Variety, Crowe had said, “I’d read the script and I thought it wasn’t a movie. But then (producer Walter) Parkes said, ‘It’s 184 A.D., you’re a Roman general, and you’re going to be directed by Ridley Scott.’ And that was enough for me to want to talk to Ridley.”

According to Variety, Scott and Crowe would work with the writers to punch up the script even after beginning filming. Crowe joked, “I’ve often said to Ridley since, ‘One of these days we should actually do a film where we know what we’re going to do before we start’.”

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Writer Franzoni said, “We’d all drink whiskey and smoke cigars. We’d exchange notes and ideas. Then I’d go back and write at 3 or 4 in the morning and I’d hand the pages to Ridley.”

Gladiator received 12 Oscar nominations and made over $300 million worldwide, making it the second highest-grossing film of 2000.

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