Gladiator star Russell Crowe has admitted that the original script for the 2000 epic classic was "so bad" that the producer didn't want to send him a copy.
While it's hard to imagine an Oscar-nominated screenplay that contains some of the most iconic lines in cinema history ("are you not entertained?") being rubbish, it seems the words on the page weren't originally as promising.
"Gladiator was a unique experience because the script that they had was so bad – it was just so bad," he told The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.
"The producer did not know I was able to already get a copy, but the thing he said was, 'I don't want to send you the document we have because you won't respond to it. But I want to encourage you to have a meeting with [director] Ridley Scott. And here's the thing I want you to think about – it's 180 AD, you're a Roman general and you're being directed by Ridley Scott.'"
Crowe explained that he and the director "just clicked on that first meeting", and went on to praise Scott's vision for the movie.
"There was definitely a little bit of a risk involved with it at the time," he added, though it clearly paid off as the movie went on to become a box office smash and win five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor.
Meanwhile, Gladiator producer Douglas Wick has given fans an update on a possible sequel, saying the chances are "more than 50%".
While a sequel could logistically be a problem given Crowe's character Maximus's fate at the end of the first movie, it seems that Wick and Scott may have come up with a solution.
"I mean, the main character of the movie is dead," he said. "So, when you start a new movie, it's not like you say, 'Oh, I've got a return role for these movie stars'.
"And also, everyone has such respect for the movie, that there's just real clarity that unless we get it on paper, we're not going to do it. No-one wants some cynical shadow to make some bucks."
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