Twenty years have passed since Russell Crowe embodied Maximus Decimus Meridius, a friend of Emperor Marcus Aurelius, who is betrayed and killed by his son Commodus. Even today, Ridley Scott’s legendary film is one of the best in history, and like the main character’s name, everything in the movie was “maximum”.
The film’s budget was about $ 103 million, and it grossed as much as $ 460 million after it was released. “Gladiator” also won five Oscars, including those in the category of Best Actor and Best Film of that year.
At the start of filming, many claimed the film would be a failed case, including its star, actor Russell Crowe. However, the complete opposite happened. In addition to Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix also starred in “Gladiator”, in which he played Commodus.
There was a lot of ambiguity at the very beginning of filming, and the biggest one was the script that wasn’t completed. This was the alarm for Russell Crowe, who feared that the film would ruin the brilliant career he was building at the time.
Filming was done in England, Malta, Italy, and Morocco. To encourage his team to be as good as possible, Ridley Scott made the actors and producers watch “Saving Private Ryan”. He thought it would be a good inspiration for them, and he told them that their scenes must be better than those shots in that film.
Injuries and numerous quarrels
Not everything went without physical pain. Crowe was then in his mid-thirties, and the producers forbade him to play football on the film set so as not to injure himself. He disobeyed them, so he ended up with several injuries, including several bone fractures.
“If you’re rolling around on the ground with gigantic sequences with hundreds of moves of choreography, you’re dealing with horses and tigers and other things that can go wrong, of course, there’s gonna be injuries,” Crowe said in an interview with Variety.
“But when you’re younger, you’re made of rubber, and you can bounce back again. I do remember saying to my mom when I got home from that shoot, she said: ‘How do you feel?’ I said, ‘I actually feel like a football player who’s played one season too many'”, Crowe recalled.
Djimon Hounsou played one of the gladiators and said he nearly stabbed a fellow actor in the head while filming a fight scene.
The script for the film changed more and more day by day, so much so that at one point, no one knew what the next scene would be like. While filming in Morocco, William Nicholson joined the team and rewrote what was written earlier. The film’s original screenwriter David Franzoni joined the set after giving up at the beginning, and he remembered moments when he was sitting in the desert drawing scenes in the sand that could happen.
There was no shortage of quarrels on the set. Ego was strong in all the actors, and Crowe once threatened the producer to kill him with his own hands due to a misunderstanding on the set. The actor is otherwise known for his hasty temperament, but later, he said that it brought him more good than bad in his life, and in the end, they resolved all misunderstandings. He most often quarreled with the film’s director Scott, and as colleagues from the set said, the fights were brutal.