It is always frustrating for film fans to hear news of a project with talent behind it, crashing and burning, but it’s a natural part of the industry. Sometimes creative differences are the cause, sometimes the economics of a project just don’t make sense, but it doesn’t stop fans from daydreaming of what that project could have been. One such project is the sequel to the 2000 megahit Gladiator.
Director Ridley Scott and star Russell Crowe asked Nick Cave , the Australian musician turned screenwriter, to pen a script for a Gladiator sequel. As a fan of Gladiator and an even bigger fan of Cave’s work, the idea of collaboration between Scott and Cave made me giddy. However, this project too crashed and burned. .
I had been listening to Cave’s music off and on since I saw his first film, The Proposition, however it was last year during a trip to Italy that I became truly fascinated by his violent, poetic music. It was not a day after I returned to Ottawa that I found out that Cave was going to be doing a book reading at Ottawa’s Writers Festival, that very week.
I got my hands on his script and read it late into the night. It was unlike anything I had read before. It was absurd, in the very best way. The script featured Maximus being cast out of purgatory by the Gods and sent to destroy the growing cult of Christianity.
Reviews all state that the script doesn’t work as a sequel to Gladiator but is a great piece of writing that stands on its own two feet. While I do agree with that, it doesn’t stop me from truly wishing that this film had been made.
I went to the reading with the cover page of the script in hand and during the Q&A, I got the chance to ask Cave about the script and why the project failed.