Gladiator 2: Director Ridley Scott Praises Script for Upcoming Sequel

A sequel to 2000's Gladiator has been in development hell for the past 20 years, and it looks like Ridley Scott may finally begin production on it within the next year or so. The feature ended up winning five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor, and Scott has finally revisited the project. Though the critical acclaim certainly helped Scott at ease with returning to the property, the filmmaker says it was his strong passion for period films that eventually drew him back.

"First of all, I love doing period films. I love the research. I love to create sort of smells of the period," Scott told Deadline in a recent interview ."I think what we did with the first Gladiator…I don't like being critical of other things that have happened before, but I wasn't the biggest fan of Hollywood Roman epics, honestly. They felt artificial and so, when I was asked to consider a script, the script was not very good."

He then says it was simply one image that convinced him to come back, a picture of an ancient Roman gladiator about to meet his inevitable death inside the Coliseum.

"But the person who gave it to me said, I want to show you one thing, and he picked up an illustration, this is true, it's called For Those About to Die by Gérôme. He holds it up. It's a picture of this big painting of the Coliseum, and in the corner there is this guy, about to tuna fork this poor bastard," Scott added. "He's got this thing in his neck, and he's looking up for permission to kill. I went, bloody hell, that's never been done properly before. Never. I said, I'll do it. He said you will? I said yes. Did you want to read the script? I said no, and we went off and hit the ground running around the table, and evolved the new material."

Scott then confirmed he helped rework the script to get it ready for shooting. Previous reports suggest he's aiming to film Gladiator 2 after he wraps on Kitbag, a Napoleon-era piece starring Joaquin Phoenix.

Scott's initial Gladiator movie is now streaming on Netflix.