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Russell Crowe reveals initial skepticism of Gladiator script in new interview with Vanity Fair

Russell Crowe’s initial reaction to the script for Ridley Scott’s 2000 epic Gladiator may come as a surprise to many fans of the film. After all, the movie went on to become a critical and commercial success, grossing over $460 million worldwide and earning Crowe his first and only Academy Award for Best Actor.

In a new interview with Vanity Fair, Crowe revealed that he was less than impressed with the initial script for the film, calling it “rubbish” and “absolute rubbish”. The New Zealand-born performer said that he was confident in his abilities as a leading man, but he had reservations about the world that surrounded him in the film.

“At the core of what we were doing was a great concept, but the script, it was rubbish. Absolute rubbish,” Crowe said. “It had all these sort of strange sequences, and one of them was about chariots and famous gladiators [who] use certain types of chariots, and some famous gladiators had endorsement deals with products for olive oil and things like that, and it’s all true, but it’s just not going to ring right to a modern audience. They’re going to go, ‘What the f— is all this?'”

Despite his reservations, Crowe stuck with the project and went on to deliver a powerful performance as Maximus Decimus Meridius, a Roman general who is betrayed by his emperor and forced to become a gladiator. Crowe’s portrayal of Maximus earned him widespread critical acclaim and cemented his status as a leading man in Hollywood.

In the interview, Crowe also discussed the challenges he faced on set during the making of the film. He described the energy around the project as “very fractured” and said that there were times when he considered walking away from the production.

“I did think, a couple times, maybe my best option is just to get on a plane and get out of here, you know?” Crowe said. “But I never did. I stuck with it, and I’m glad I did.”

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More Than Crowe Expected

Gladiator went on to win five Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Crowe, and Best Director for Scott. The film’s success helped to launch Crowe’s career to new heights and established him as one of the most talented actors of his generation.

In hindsight, it’s hard to imagine anyone else portraying the role of Maximus in Gladiator. Crowe’s performance was powerful, nuanced, and unforgettable, and it helped to elevate the film to a level of greatness that few could have predicted. Despite his initial reservations about the project, Crowe’s decision to stick with Gladiator proved to be a wise one, and his performance in the movie will be remembered for years to come.

Now, over two decades after its release, Scott is working on a sequel to Gladiator, which will star Denzel Washington, Barry Keoghan, and Paul Mescal as Lucius, the son of Connie Nielsen’s Lucilla. Crowe has expressed his excitement about the project, but also a hint of jealousy that he won’t be involved.

“The only thing that I really feel about it is slightly jealous, you know?” Crowe told Collider in April. “Because I was a much younger man, obviously, and it was a huge experience in my life. It’s something that changed my life, really. It changed the way people regarded me and what I do for a living.”

While Crowe may not be involved in the Gladiator sequel, his impact on the original film and the world of cinema as a whole is undeniable. His commitment to the project, even in the face of doubt and uncertainty, helped to create a cinematic masterpiece that continues to captivate audiences today.

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In the year 2000, Scott brought to the screen one of the most epic films of all time – Gladiator. Set in ancient Rome, the movie follows the story of Maximus Decimus Meridius, a respected general in the Roman army, who is betrayed by the jealous Emperor Commodus and forced to become a gladiator.

The film stars Russell Crowe in the lead role of Maximus, with Joaquin Phoenix playing Commodus, the treacherous son of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Connie Nielsen plays Lucilla, the sister of Commodus and former lover of Maximus, and Oliver Reed gives a memorable performance as Proximo, the owner of a gladiator training school.

Gladiator was a huge success both critically and commercially, grossing over $460 million at the box office and earning 12 Academy Award nominations, ultimately winning five including Best Picture, Best Actor for Crowe, and Best Visual Effects.

One of the most striking aspects of the film is its production design, which authentically recreates ancient Rome with stunning attention to detail. The battle scenes are especially impressive, with thousands of extras and intricate choreography bringing the gladiatorial combat to life on screen.

But it’s not just the action that makes Gladiator such a captivating film – it’s the emotional depth of its characters and themes. Maximus is a man of honor and integrity, driven by a desire for justice and revenge for the murder of his family. Commodus, on the other hand, is consumed by jealousy and greed, willing to do anything to hold onto his power.

The film also explores themes of loyalty, sacrifice, and redemption, as Maximus forms bonds with his fellow gladiators and becomes a symbol of hope for the people of Rome. His ultimate goal is not just to defeat Commodus, but to restore the honor of Rome and protect the innocent.

Gladiator is a true cinematic masterpiece, a sweeping epic that combines thrilling action with powerful storytelling and unforgettable performances. Its legacy has endured over two decades, and it continues to inspire and entertain audiences around the world.

Photo: Newsweek

Russell Crowe Says Alleged ‘My Best Friend’s Wedding’ Audition is ‘Pure Imagination’

Russell Crowe might not agree with the recent blow in his acting skills.

In February, Vulture released an excerpt from Scott Meslow’s romantic comedy From Hollywood With Love: The Rise and Fall (and Rise again), in which director P.J. Hogan said Crowe performed “one of the worst table reads I’ve ever experienced” for the movie. 

And today, more than eight months after Hogan’s statement, the Gladiator star wants to clarify a few things.

“Pure imagination on behalf of this director. I did not audition for this film,” Crowe took to Twitter to express his truth on Friday. “I have never done a table read with the actress mentioned. Would be funny if it wasn’t so pointless.” 

In the article, Hogan claimed Crowe was his “first choice” to star alongside Julia Roberts as Michael O’Neal, her best friend and love interest in the rom-com following his wife – screenwriter and filmmaker Jocelyn Moorhouse – worked alongside Crowe on Proof, a 1991 movie. 

But he eventually said Roberts had final casting clearance when it came to her co-actor, so Hogan told Crowe the casting was via a table read with the star that reportedly didn’t end well.

“I don’t know what went wrong,” he elaborated. “It was one of the worst table reads I’ve ever experienced. Russell was seated opposite Julia. He gripped that script, and he stared at that script, and he didn’t look at her once.” 

Hogan Against Crowe

And to aggravate the situation, Hogan stated that Crowe carried on reading “every line in a monotone” and continuously prevented Roberts’ gaze. 

“At one point, Julia was literally leaning over the table, staring, like, inches from Russell’s face, trying to make eye contact. And he wouldn’t look at her,” he stated. 

“At the end of the reading, Russell came up to me and said, ‘I thought that went pretty well.’ And then I knew: Russell was not going to be in My Best Friend’s Wedding.” 

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Although, according to the excerpt, Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Perry, and Edward Burns were all vying for the role, Dermot Mulroney was the triumphant star in the end, completing the star-studded cast that consisted of Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Rupert Everett, and Philip Bosco. 

When asked by EW for a comment, Hogan and Roberts’ reps did not respond. 

Crowe Missed

My Best Friend’s Wedding follows the story of a 27-year-old (three weeks to 28) New York good critic Julianne “Jules” Potter as she receives a call from her longtime best friend Michael O’Neal, a sportswriter in Chicago.

Years earlier, the two had made a promise: if they hadn’t been married at 28, they would marry each other. If you think it happened, you need to read more.

Michael called to inform his best friend that he would tie the knot with gorgeous Kimmy Wallace in four days. After hearing the news, Jules realized she loved Michael more than a friend, so she decided to cook up a plan to sabotage the wedding. But all of that failed. 

Ultimately, she and Michael did not end up together. But she found a new love interest named George.

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Photo: YIMG