Russell Crowe Reveals Disappointing News for Gladiator 2

Russell Crowe has confirmed that he will not appear in Gladiator 2, which takes place years after the death of his character, Maximus. While Maximus looms large over the movie's story -- the main character is someone who was saved by Maximus as a child -- there are reportedly no plans to find a way to work Maximus (or Crowe) into the narrative itself, he told the Fitzy & Wippa Podcast. Still, it does sound like he is in touch with Ridley Scott and has been kept updated on the progress -- and story -- of the sequel, which recently cast Paul Mescal as its star.

Mescal will be playing Lucius, the son of Lucilla (Connie Nielsen). Now a grown man, Lucius has grown up with admiration for Maximus (Russel Crowe's character), who saved him and his mother. Maximus will not return for the film, since he died at the end of Gladiator -- but not before killing Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), the son of Roman leader Marcus Aurelius and served as the principal antagonist of the first film.  

"Yeah we've had dinner and talked about it and all that stuff. So I know roughly how he's shaping the story," Crowe said. "But yeah, if you remember, there was a young kid who wanted to beat the Gladiator, which leads to the 'My name is' speech. So that young kid has grown up, and he's now the Emperor. I don't know what else happens at that point, so that's the idea. So it's not a remake. And it's not a direct sequel. It's not like the day after, you know, 30 years later or something."

The plan is currently for Scott to return to direct from a script by David Scarpa. It has been about five years since serious reports about a sequel to Ridley Scott's Gladiator started to circulate, with the script being finished last spring. Back in 2021, Scott said that the sequel would be ready to go as his next feature film, but he had to finish Kitbag, a Napoleon biopic featuring Gladiator baddie Joaquin Phoenix, first.

"First of all, I love doing period films. I love the research. I love to create sort of smells of the period," Scott said back in 2021."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. 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."

With casting seemingly underway it would not be surprising to hear some of he details about the film coming together pretty quickly in the coming weeks. Scott is set to produce the film, along with Scott Free President Michael Pruss, and Doug Wick and Lucy Fisher from Red Wagon Entertainment. Also returning from the original film are Janty Yates (Costume Designer) and Arthur Max (Production Designer).  

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