Esteemed rocker/filmmaker Nick Cave wrote a sequel to Gladiator, apparently at the behest of fellow Aussie Russell Crowe. A synopsis/assessment of the script was posted to the intertubes not too long ago. It is, as you might imagine, fucking insane. In the best possible way.
I know what you’re thinking–hey, Maximus died at the end! Mr. Cave is way ahead of you. In his script, Maximus has been damned to gladiate (if that’s a word) for all eternity for his sins. The screenplay is rife with supernatural hoodoo-ery, like people rising from the dead. Several times. Oh, and there’s a closing montage in which the deathless Maximus is shown fighting in the Crusades, World War II, Vietnam, and, curiously, working in the Pentagon.
Still not hooked? How ’bout a climactic speech in which an anti-Christian leader screams CHARGE THIS FISH! How ’bout the movie’s climactic battle scene, which takes place in a flooded Coliseum with battleships and alligators.* Tell me that itself isn’t worth the price of admission.
* The ancient Romans actually used to flood the Coliseum and stage naval battles there, so this last detail is plausible. But still nuts.
Though the assessor of this script noted that “Cave’s writing, the storyline, the dialogue…it’s Grade-A material through and through,” he/she still rejected it. Why?
-…I’m not really interested in seeing a sequel to Gladiator
featuring elements of mythology and the supernatural. They weren’t
present in the first film and they simply feel out of place here.
-The script renders most of the original film moot…
-I love it as a standalone screenplay but hate it as a sequel to Gladiator.
To all of these criticisms, I say, So fucking what?!
First of all, despite all the Oscar nods, Gladiator was nothing more than a better-than-average popcorn movie. You’re not going to “ruin” or “dilute” it with Nick Cave’s interpretation. And the first movie was a big enough hit that, as long as Russell Crowe stars in the sequel, you’re pretty much guaranteed a certain box office number. Take a chance, Hollywood assholes!
Second of all, look at any movie franchise: the second movie is always the crazy one. And it’s always the one that cineaste snobs say is the true masterpiece. Think The Godfather Part II. Think Dark Knight. Think 2 Fast 2 Furious!
If this is how a wonderfully mad potential masterpiece is assessed by Hollywood, I’d love to see the synopsis for some market-researched piece of total junk like Ghosts of Girlfriends Past. “Reading this made a small piece of my soul shrivel up and die. Greenlight immediately!”
This rejection of Nick Cave’s vision really puts a damper on my own screenplay hopes. I was just starting to get some meetings about my full-length adaptation of “O’Malley’s Bar”.