5 Facts About Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator”

Ridley Scott’s epic Gladiator is one of the most beloved historical movies ever made. The story about a betrayed Roman general who is enslaved and forced to fight as a gladiator became a hit among the audience and the critics and engrained itself in pop culture.

While the plot of the movie is mostly fiction, the movie features a number of characters based on real-life historical figures and is considered historically accurate in many ways, making it beloved by many history buffs. If you are one of them, you’ll find these facts about Ridley Scott’s Gladiator quite interesting.

Mel Gibson Turned Down the Lead Role

The lead role of Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius was first offered to Mel Gibson. However, Gibson felt he was too old for the part, prompting Scott to pivot to Russell Crowe, who ended up winning the Academy Award.

Actor Who Played Proximo Died During Filming

Oliver Reed, who portrayed Maximus’ owner Proximo, died before the filming ended. Initially, the idea was to reshoot the movie due to the character’s importance, but Scott ended up deciding to use a body double and make changes to Proximo’s story.

Replica of Colosseum Was Built for the Movie

In order to faithfully capture the feel of gladiator fights, producers built a one-third-scaled replica of the Colosseum. It took seven months to build at a cost of $1 million.

One Historically Accurate Scene Was Removed from the Movie

The original version of the Gladiator script featured a scene in which gladiators promoted products before fights. While this was accurate from a historical standpoint, the scene was removed because filmmakers feared the audience would think it was fake.

Only 32 Pages of the Script Were Approved Before Filming Started

Only 32 pages of the script were approved when filming started. British screenwriter William Nicholson was brought in to finish the job, and he succeeded, although Crowe often complained about his work and dialogue.

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