Gladiator 2 seems to be gaining more and more traction. The long-gestating sequel has surprisingly been in the works for years and just a week ago, producer Walter F. Parkes finally revealed when the second movie will take place.
Now that we know the setting though, when is the film going to happen? Well, producer Doug Wick has been talking recently about the challenges of getting everyone’s schedules to line up as well as getting the story right so that it doesn’t tarnish the legacy of the first movie, and here’s what he had to say:
“Ridley would love to do it. It’s really all about getting something on paper,” Wick confirmed to ComicBook.com. “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.”
Based on these comments, it doesn’t sound like they’re anywhere close to finishing the script. If they’re so worried about making something to live up to Gladiator though, why make it in the first place?
The fact that Scott seems eager to do it is also surprising. After all, in addition to being the second-highest grossing movie of 2000, Gladiator won five Oscars including Best Actor for Russell Crowe and Best Picture. It was also a comeback for Scott, who had had a shaky period in the ‘90s. So it certainly set a high bar that will be tough to match.
The obvious setback with making a sequel is, of course, that Maximus (Crowe) dies at the end of the first film. Crowe is also 20 years older and not exactly in the same physical shape he was back then.
According to Wick though, the actor joked that a sequel could work after the movie’s big opening weekend all those years ago.
“Russell’s agent called me after the opening weekend, said, ‘I’ve got a great idea. They take the body around the corner of the arena, Russell gets off the stretcher and says, “Hey, it worked,” and they high-five,'” Wick recalled. “That would be the beginning of the next movie. He was pitching that it was a fake death so Russell could come back and do it.”
Gladiator is a celebrated film and spawned a rejuvenation of the sword-and-sandals genre. It was even going to get a re-release this summer for its 20-year anniversary. The thought of Gladiator 2 just sounds odd, though, and it’s unnecessary. Scott and Crowe kind of already made their follow-up period epic, too, and it was called Robin Hood. Remember that movie? No? I didn’t think so.