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.”
And according to one of the film’s producers, Doug Wick. Scott is currently hard at work trying to get a script together.
Wick told Comic Book: “Ridley would love to do it. It’s really all about getting something on paper. Everyone [involved with the original] loves the movie too much to ever consider cheaply exploiting it and making something that’s a shadow of it.
“It’s just really a clear creative problem, working on a script, and if we can ever get it to a place…Ridley’s working on it, it’s really just a question of whether we can get it to a place where it feels worthy to make it. It’s a real challenge.
“But it’s also a real writing problem, too. Like any good movie, Gladiator works by the skin of its teeth, where this fight movie ends up adding up that way, and so, again, to take the best of what the audience is attached to, but make it fresh in some new incarnation, it’s really challenging.
“And, of course, the leading man is dead. If you do Godfather, you say, ‘Okay, the audience loves these stars in this wardrobe,’ and you bring back the old team.”
Info remains scarce, but we know that Men In Black: International producers Walter F Parke and Laurie MacDonald are confirmed to be 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.
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.
Charismatic, witty, charming, engaging - four things Joshua Rogers will never be. Thankfully, he’s a semi-competent editor, who, after graduating university with two mostly pointless degrees, joined The Hook two years ago. He subsequently honed his writing skills over several features and investigative pieces, arguably letting The Hook audience in on way too much of his personal life.