Trivia / Gladiator

  • Actor Allusion: Derek Jacobi wants to reform Rome.
    • David Hemmings' pointed eyebrows were his own.
  • Actor-Inspired Element: Connie Nielsen found the 2000-year-old signet ring which she wears in the movie in an antique store. She was a surprising fount of information in terms of Roman history, as she had always been fascinated by the period. She would be frequently consulted over accurate historical details.
  • Actor-Shared Background: When Maximus is talking about his home, it's Russell Crowe talking about his own home in Australia.
  • AFI's 100 Years... 100 Heroes and Villains:
    • #50 Hero, General Maximus Decimus Meridius
  • Awesome, Dear Boy: Russell Crowe explained why he said yes to the film: "They said, 'It's a 100-million-dollar film. You're being directed by Ridley Scott. You play a Roman General.' I've always been a big fan of Ridley's."
  • The Character Died with Him: Proximo was supposed to survive the movie, but instead he's killed off due to Oliver Reed's death during production.
  • Deleted Scene: One of them has two guards who screwed up and allowed Maximus to escape about to be executed with arrows, and Commodus walking in front of them while the archers are tensed to fire, and standing directly between the two condemned men as they are killed by arrows. This is supposed to show how self-destructive he's become since becoming emperor. This scene and several others have since been added back in with a recent Director's Cut, as is the increasing norm for a Ridley Scott movie.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: Russell Crowe had just gained 40 pounds for ''The Insider...which he had to lose for this film. He did so by doing normal farm work at his home in Australia.
  • Fake Nationality: Russell Crowe is most definitely not a Spaniard.
  • In Memoriam: The film is dedicated to Oliver Reed.
  • The Other Marty: Lou Ferrigno was originally cast as Tigris of Gaul, but was replaced during production by Sven Ole Thorsen who had been lobbying hard for the part.
  • Star-Making Role: An Academy Award-winning one for Russell Crowe.
  • Throw It In: Joaquin Phoenix ad-libbed his scream of "Am I not merciful?", and Connie Nielsen's reaction of frightfully pulling away from him was genuine, since she wasn't expecting it.
    • Ridley Scott claimed that the opening moments of Maximus pondering a bird before the battle was simply improvised between he and Russell Crowe on a day in which they needed to film a moment introducing Maximus before the battle, but they had no scripted dialogue.
  • Troubled Production: The film went through constant onset rewrites, to the point where Richard Harris stopped paying attention. Russell Crowe allegedly questioned every aspect of the evolving script and strode off the set when he did not get answers.
    • But that was nothing compared to the biggest problem the film faced - Oliver Reed, cast in what was supposed to be his Career Resurrection, died of a heart attack during filming in Malta before all of his scenes had been shot. Not only did this necessitate having the effects company spend $3 million creating a CGI body double, but it also caused story alterations (his character was supposed to make it through the end of the film, as opposed to dying near the climax).
  • Vacation, Dear Boy: Oliver Reed's main motivation for taking the part of Proximo was because he fancied a "free trip to London to see a couple of shows".
  • Wag the Director: Russell Crowe was continually unhappy with the screenplay, rewriting much of it to suit his own ends. He would frequently walk off the set if he didn't get his way. The famous line "And I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next." he initially refused to say, telling writer William Nicholson "Your lines are garbage but I'm the greatest actor in the world and I can make even garbage sound good".
    • On a positive note, he objected to a sex scene between Maximus and Lucilla, feeling that it would be out-of-character for a man avenging his family's deaths.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • Originally, Maximus was supposed to fight Proximo in the Colliseum after being captured, probably as a penultimate Kick the Dog from Commodus. Except Creator/OliverReed's death from a heart attack during production forced them to rewrite.
      • A lot of people thought Reed might finally have gotten an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor if he had been able to complete his role.
    • An early version of the script was to include gladiators endorsing products in the arena, but was not included as the director believed it would not be believable to the audience despite being historically accurate.
    • The role of Maximus was originally written with Antonio Banderas in mind. Mel Gibson turned it down, because he felt he was too old for the part. Hugh Jackman was also considered.
    • Jude Law auditioned for Commodus.
    • Jennifer Lopez auditioned for Lucilla.
    • Richard Harris was originally considered for Proximo.
    • Nick Cave was asked to pen a sequel. It featured poor Maximus being reincarnated by the Roman gods, then teleported across time to fight as a soldier in every war ever fought. His "touching the earth" thing became a "ritual" to keep him sane. No, really. According to various reports, Russell Crowe was all for it before the project was abandoned.
    • Luciano Pavarotti was asked to perform on the soundtrack and turned down the opportunity, something he later regretted.
    • David Franzoni's original script had Maximus named Narcissus, Commodus being strangled in the baths (as he was by the real Narcissus), the fight at the Colosseum against a rhinoceros instead of tigers and Lucilla not making it to the end of the movie but being executed (as she was in reality) along with some senators inside a Sicilian Bull. The rhinos became tigers because it was impossible to train real rhinos and CGI replacements didn't look convincing. The other things were changed because of Reality Is Unrealistic.
  • Written-In Infirmity: The wounds on Russell Crowe's face after the opening battle scene are real, caused when his horse startled and backed him into tree branches. The stitches in his cheek are clearly visible when he is telling Commodus he intends to return home.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Trivia/Gladiator