Russell Crowe says the first 'Gladiator' script was 'absolute rubbish'

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Russell Crowe says the first 'Gladiator' script was 'absolute rubbish'
Russell Crowe played Maximus Decimus Meridius in Ridley Scott's "Gladiator."Andy Cheung / Getty Images/ Dreamwork Pictures / Getty Images
  • Russell Crowe told Vanity Fair that the first script for "Gladiator" was "absolute rubbish."
  • He said the script had a "great concept" but contained scenes that wouldn't work with modern audiences.
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Russell Crowe recalled that he thought the first script for the iconic movie "Gladiator" was "absolute rubbish."

Crowe starred in the 2000 movie, directed by Ridley Scott, as its lead character Maximus Decimus Meridius. The movie won five Oscars and was nominated for six more awards, including best screenplay.

However, during his appearance on Vanity Fair's career breakdown YouTube series, Crowe said that he almost considered bailing on the movie because of the script.

"I was confident about my abilities as a leading man. What I wasn't confident about with 'Gladiator' was the world that was surrounding me," Crowe said. "At the core of what we were doing was a great concept but the script, it was rubbish, absolute rubbish. And it had all these sorts of strange sequences."

The 59-year-old actor recalled that the writers wanted to include a scene in which the gladiators would ride chariots with signage promoting olive oil and other products. This was meant to be based on real-life famous gladiators who had endorsement deals.

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"That's all true but it's just not going to ring right to a modern audience," the "Les Misérables" star said. "They're going to go, 'What the fuck is all this?' The energy around what we were doing was very fractured. I did think a couple times, 'Maybe my best option is just to get on a plane and get out of here.' It was my continued conversations with Ridley that sort of gave me faith."

Russell Crowe says the first 'Gladiator' script was 'absolute rubbish'
Russell Crowe in "Gladiator."DreamWorks Pictures

Crowe continued: "He said to me at one point in time, 'Mate, we're not committing anything to camera that you don't believe in 100%.' So when we actually started that film, we had 21 pages of script that we agreed on. A script is usually between 103 or four or 110 pages. So we had a long way to go and we basically used up those pages in the first section of the movie. So by the time we got to our second location, which was Morocco, we were sort of catching up."

Later in the video, Crowe also reflected on playing Zeus in "Thor: Love and Thunder."

He said that when asked to play the role, director Taika Waititi wanted him to use the same "faux upper class" voice he used for "Gladiator."

However, Crowe wanted to try doing a Greek accent instead so it was agreed that they would shoot every scene twice using each accent and allow the audience to decide during test screenings.

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"The Greek characterization absolutely smashed the English one," Crowe recalled. "Just smashed it by 10 or 15 points. And true to their word, they went with what they said."

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