Cave was originally asked to write the sequel to Ridley Scott’s Oscar-winning movie by the director himself, along with the Oscar-winning star of the 2000 film Russell Crowe. The duo allegedly thought that Cave would be able to come up with a suitable script that managed to deal with the fact that Crowe’s character, Maximus, had been killed off at the end of the first film.
However, Cave’s adaptation was eventually turned down for being too over the top, reports The Guardian. In Cave’s script, Maximus’ character is reincarnated after a meeting with Roman gods in the afterlife. The script then has him reunite with his son, before being given the power to live forever, adapting to a number of new roles that see him fight - and survive - in World War II and the Vietnam war. In the final scene, set in the present day, the character is seen working in the Pentagon.
Speaking about the script to UGO.com, Scott admitted that he thought Cave had enjoyed the writing process. He said: “Russell [Crowe] didn’t want to let it go, obviously, because it worked very well. I mean, when I say ‘worked very well’, I don’t refer to success. I mean, as a piece it works very well. Storytelling, he [Cave] works brilliantly. I think he 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 him back from the dead’.”
Uncut: How would you rank Gladiator 2 in your film-related experiences to date?
Nick Cave: It was suggested by Russell Crowe, who rang up pretty much out of the blue and asked if I wanted to write Gladiator 2. He was a big fan of The Proposition. He was almost in The Proposition, but for one reason or another that didn’t happen. First of all, he asked “How do you feel about scriptwriting?” Because at that time The Proposition wasn’t being made, it had collapsed for the 15th fucking time. And I said, “I’m never going to write another script, it’s a fucking mug’s game, I don’t want anything to do with it.” He said, “How about writing Gladiator 2?” And I went, “OK!” My question was, “Didn’t you die?” He said, “You can sort it out…” So I wrote this script - that anyone with any experience in the film business would know would never get made. On every level it would never get made. And it never did.
Uncut: What was up with it?
Nick Cave: For one thing, it ended in the Pentagon. It had a 25-minute sequence at the end that followed all the wars in history in one big… extravaganza. Russell didn’t do anything in the film apart from wander around asking questions the whole time. As it turns out, Ridley Scott said he really liked it, but that there was no way on earth anyone was going to make it, so that was the end of that. I’m not so sure Russell liked it. I remember Russell ringing up and saying that they still had the software for a charging rhino from the original film. He said, “Can you put a charging rhino in it? It was supposed to go in the first Gladiator and it’s fucking amazing - I get three tonnes of rhino charging at me.” And I went, “I’ll give it a go…”
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