'Gladiator' almost didn't kill off Maximus, says Russell Crowe

Updated: Apr 22, 2020, 11:04 IST | PTI | Los Angeles

Russell Crowe, 56, explained that the script underwent major rewrites weeks before production began as the character surviving in the climax of the film didn't make sense of his story arc.

Russell Crowe
Russell Crowe

Hollywood star Russell Crowe has revealed that his character, General Maximus Decimus Meridius wasn't initially going to be killed in the 2000 acclaimed hit "Gladiator". Directed by Ridley Scott, the epic historical action drama was co-written by David Franzoni, John Logan, and William Nicholson. Crowe, 56, explained that the script underwent major rewrites weeks before production began as the character surviving in the climax of the film didn't make sense of his story arc.

"That 'My name is Maximus...' speech is basically a suicide note," the actor told Empire magazine. "I remember Ridley coming up to me on set saying, 'Look, the way this is shaping up, I don't see how you live. This character is about one act of pure vengeance for his wife and child, and, once he's accomplished that, what does he do?' "And my joke used to be, 'Yeah, what does Maximus do? Does he end up running a f***king pizzeria by the Colosseum?'" he recalled.

Crowe, who won the best actor Oscar for his performance, said even he was in favour of Maximus dying in the end. "He has a singular purpose, which is to meet his wife in the afterlife and apologise for not being there for her. And that's it," he added. A major draw at the box office, "Gladiator" won four more Oscars at the 73rd Academy Awards in 2001 -- best picture, best costume design, best sound and best visual effects.

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