Russell Crowe Recalls The Original Script For Gladiator Being “So Bad”

Russell Crowe Recalls The Original Script For Gladiator Being “So Bad”

Ridley Scott’s Gladiator has been immortalised within the pantheon of legendary-tier films. But you may be surprised to discover there was a time when that didn’t remotely seem like a possibility, due to the piss-poor quality of its script.

It was such a mess, in fact, that it was actively kept away from Russell Crowe himself prior to signing on for the film – despite being in the leading role as Maximus Decimus Meridius.

Gladiator was a unique experience because the script that they had was so bad — it was just so bad,” Crowe recounted to Jimmy Fallon during a recent appearance on The Tonight Show.

“The producer did not know I was able to already get a copy, but the thing he said was, ‘I don’t want to send you the document we have because you won’t respond to it. But I want to encourage you to have a meeting with Ridley Scott. And here’s the thing I want you to think about: It’s 180 AD, you’re a Roman general, and you’re being directed by Ridley Scott.'” 

Of course, Crowe would take that fateful meeting where he was sold on Scott’s vision; later enduring what has since been universally acknowledged as a “disaster” of a production process, wherein a shocking amount of improvisation occurred, eventually generating overwhelming buzz during award season, and even earning Crowe himself an Academy Award for Best Actor.

I think we should all be thankful it worked out.

Watch the full-length interview below.