The last critically-acclaimed swords-and-sandals epic that Hollywood produced was Ridley Scott's movie Gladiator back in 2000. Ever since then, the team behind the film have spoken about making a sequel at one point or another. But lead actor Russell Crowe is quite skeptical of the possibility of Gladiator 2 happening.
"If they're having conversations about that, those conversations haven't included me. I'm not sure what they have in mind. At all... Can I just say, with a pinch of salt, they have genuinely been having the same conversations since the year 2000."
It is true that 20 years is a long time for a project to be stuck in limbo, especially after the original Gladiator was such a success both commercially and with critics. Of course, the prospect of making Gladiator 2 is complicated by the fact that the titular gladiator, Maximus Decimus Meridius played by Crowe, died at the end of the first film. According to the actor, the studio's idea for getting around that problem was to take a leaf out of the Bible.
"I haven't talked to [producer] Doug [Wick] in a long, long time. Last time I talked to Doug, he said he had this great idea where Maximus gets carried from the stadium and they pull back this big rock and he gets put into this cave and then the rock closes over and he's anointed with oils. And then the rock opens up and he comes out. And I said, "Doug, I don't think we have the rights to that story." But that was a long, long time ago and I don't think he appreciated my sense of humor at the time."
It would be supposed that the logical solution would be to make a story about Maximus' descendants, akin to what happened with The Godfather. But the success of the original Gladiator rested a great deal on the shoulders of Crowe's Oscar-winning performance as Maximus, and based on Scott's comments from last year, the filmmaker is determined to continue with the tale of the character in the sequel as well.
"I know how to bring him back. 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."
It seems the cast and crew of Gladiator are just biding there time, waiting for the stars to align for them to finally begin work on the sequel, even as hope grows fainter with each passing year that the project will ever reach fruition. Still, perhaps the passage of time will allow for Gladiator 2 to develop into an even better story, where a new actor takes center stage, while Russell Crowe stays on in the role of an advisor to help them on their journey. This news was first reported on ScreenRant.