Gladiator 2 Won’t Bring Back Russell Crowe, Despite Earlier Reports

Russell Crowe's Maximus looks intense in Gladiator

Despite previous reports, Russell Crowe is likely not reprising his role as Maximus Decimus Meridius in Ridley Scott’s long-awaited Gladiator sequel.

Despite rumors speculating on a possible return, Russell Crowe will not return for Paramount Pictures’ Gladiator 2.

While appearing on the Australian morning show Fitzy and Wippa, Crowe was asked about his involvement in Ridley Scott’s upcoming Gladiator sequel. “Not at all,” he replied. “So I know roughly how [Scott]’s shaping the story. But yeah, you remember, there was a young kid who wanted to beat the Gladiator? Which leads to the ‘My name is’ speech. So that young kid has grown up, and he’s now the Emperor. I don’t know what else happens at that point, but that’s the idea.”

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While Crowe appears not to be returning for the sequel, it was recently reported that Paul Mescal, star of Hulu’s Normal People, was in negotiations for the starring role in Gladiator 2. His exact role in the film has yet to be confirmed, but the story is said to focus on Lucius, the son of Connie Nielsen’s Lucilla, and the nephew of Commodus, who Joaquin Phoenix portrayed in the original movie.

Crowe Starred as Maximus in 2000’s Gladiator

Directed by Scott, Gladiator was released in 2000 and starred Crowe as the Roman general Maximus Decimus Meridius. Maximus is ultimately betrayed by Commodus (Phoenix), the ambitious son of Emperor Aurelius (Richard Harris). Commodus murders his father and seizes the throne as Maximus is reduced to slavery. After becoming a gladiator, Maximus rises through the ranks of the arena to avenge the murders of his family and the emperor. While he gets his revenge, Maximus ultimately perishes and reunites with his family in the afterlife. The film also stars Oliver Reed, Djimon Hounsou, Derek Jacobi, John Shrapnel, and Tommy Flanagan.

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Inspired by Daniel P. Mannix’s 1958 book “Those About to Die,” the film was a box office success, grossing $460.5 million worldwide. The movie would go on to become the second highest-grossing film of 2000 behind Tom Cruise’s Mission: Impossible 2. Gladiator went on to win five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Crow. In the years since its release, Gladiator has been critically evaluated as one of the greatest historical epics of all time.

Gladiator 2 will also be directed by Scott from a script written by David Scarpa. While plot details remain under wraps, producer Walter F. Parkes revealed in 2019 that the sequel would pick up 25 years after the events of Gladiator. This has yet to be confirmed by Scott or Paramount. Scott confirmed in 2021 that the script for Gladiator 2 had been completed and the film was in the early stages of development. “We have a good footprint, a good, logical place to go,” the director said at the time.

Gladiator is currently streaming on Netflix and Paramount+. Gladiator 2 does not yet have a release date.

Source: Fitzy and Wippa, via Looper


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