Gladiator writer Nick Cave recently revealed the secrets behind the sequel to the Oscar winning film’s sequel or as he like to think of it, Gladiator 2 the sequel that wasn’t.
Nick Cave had only written one previous screenplay and that was for the 2005 Australian “western” The Proposition starring Guy Pierce and Ray Winstone. It went over well with the critics and has a cult following.
The singer/screenwriter was approached by fellow Aussie Russell Crowe to write a script for the proposed sequel and he did, but it reached a dead end when the studio refused to greenlight the film.
Speaking to Marc Maron on the WTF podcast, Cave revealed why the studios crumpled and decided to give the sequel a miss.
At the podcast, Nick said, “(Crowe) rang me up and asked if I wanted to write ‘Gladiator 2.'”
He went on to say that he was a bit overwhelmed by the request. He said, “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’.”
Cave continued, “So, he [Russell’s character] 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.”
The 55 year-old singer had already come up with a title for the sequel. “I wanted to call it ‘Christ Killer’,” Cave said, “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.”
It is clear in the WTF podcast that the project became pretty special to Cave. He explained that Maximus would change. He said, “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.”
According to Director Ridley Scott, in spite of the religious overtones, the script was a good one and that Crowe really liked it. In an interview with UGO.com Scott said, “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.”
Scott added, “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’.”
Nick Cave is famous for singing with his band The Bad Seeds, but the talented singer/songwriter has allowed his personal creativity to flourish by branching out into writing and acting. He wrote his first screenplay in 2004 for the above mentioned The Proposition and he has penned several novels as well as acted in several features for film, TV and radio.
So now the world knows why the five time Oscar winning film Gladiator never had a Gladiator 2 sequel and that the studio wouldn’t “greenlight” the project!
By Michael Smith