Hands down one of my favourite films of all time. I watched it for the first time on a long haul flight when I was about 8 or 9 – my parents were asleep, they’d have never let me watch it usually – and I was captivated from the very first scene.
That opening battle with the Germanic tribe might actually be the greatest opening film scene ever. His ‘ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?” line is absolutely iconic and that evil, treacherous sh*t Commodus – played by the irrepressible Joaquin Phoenix – rounds off a near perfect piece of cinema.
It’s been 19 long years since Ridley Scott’s epic historical drama first premiered, with Russell Crowe’s performance as Maximus Decimus Meridius proving to be one of his most career-defining roles (he won a Best Actor Oscar for it).
Back in 2017, shortly after the release of Alien: Covenant, Scott fuelled the fire of a sequel by revealing that not only was he keen on the idea, but that he also had plans of bringing Crowe back, despite the fact he was killed off in the first film.
“I know how to bring him back,” he told Entertainment Weekly.
“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.”
Since then, info has been scarce, but Men In Black: International producers Walter F Parke and Laurie MacDonald have recently confirmed they were working on the film.
Speaking to HeyUGuys, MacDonald said: “We’re working with Ridley, and that’s one we wouldn’t touch unless we felt in a way to do it was legitimate.
“We’re working with an amazing writer as well, Peter Craig.”
Parkes added: “It picks up the story 30 years later.” He then corrected himself, saying: “25 years later.”
So that takes us to just after the year 200 AD, and that would seem to mirror with early reports that the story will focus on Lucius, the son of Lucilla and nephew of Commodus.
Speaking about his experience on Gladiator, Crowe told Hot Corn: “On the set of Gladiator I built up a relationship with him that would last forever. It felt like we were in the trenches together, gradually putting the movie together as we filmed it.
“Ridley did a job that was both epic and magical.
“And I can clearly remember when he told me that the production company was wrong to think of the film as an action movie to sell to teenagers. He was right: after just two weeks it was clear to everyone that the female audience was the biggest.
“Basically, the film is an emotional journey and Maximus Decimus Meridius gave me one of the most gratifying experiences of my career. I’m not saying he is my absolute favourite, but I really loved him.”
Scott has made a few stinkers recently (Exodus: Gods and Kings, Alien: Covenant) but hopefully he can recapture some of his earlier form for the Gladiator sequel.
Just please don’t bring Maximum back – Hollywood’s all about bringing back old characters at the moment (mostly because they’ve run out of ideas) and it’s interesting for about five seconds until you realise there’s no substance to it.
Please get this one right.
Images via Universal Pictures
Charismatic, witty, charming, engaging - four things Joshua Rogers will never be. Thankfully, he’s a semi-competent writer, who, after graduating university with two mostly pointless degrees, joined The Hook two years ago. He subsequently honed his writing skills over the course of several sex-related articles, bringing a very public shame to his family's good name.