It's been 20 years since Gladiator came out and Russell Crowe is still amazed by the impact this epic film had on pop culture. After all, the film scored 11 nominations at the 2001 Oscars and took home five trophies that night, including Best Picture and the Best Actor statue for Crowe.
"To have a film in your career where 20 years after, doesn't matter what day of the week it is, somewhere in the world it's still playing on primetime TV," Crowe recently told E! News. "It's amazing. We certainly, when we were making it, we never would have expected it to have the legs that it had. In fact, while we were making it, it was chaos."
That chaos is something the Academy Award winner looks back on fondly despite a script he said they felt "wasn't worthy" of the film's $103 million budget. The fact that the cast and crew ended up filming each scene sequentially, dependent upon locations, ended up helping the so-called unworthy script become something of a "bespoke" cinematic masterpiece, explained Crowe.
"The schedule was very helpful in that regard because we were literally making s--t up as we went," he admitted. "There's no two ways about it. Every actor was involved in the process of creation and sort of adjusting their characters and building their characters. But [director] Ridley [Scott] had just created such a rich world for us all to exist in and as every actor came in the door, they just accepted that world and accepted that we were all going to be wearing funny costumes and talking in a funny way and just bought into it."
Well, Mr. Crowe, we all bought into it too. So much so that the recent buzz about a possible sequel has fans amped up like the crowd inside the Roman Colosseum watching Maximus defy Joaquin Phoenix's Commodus.
While there hasn't been any concrete developments since Deadline first reported a sequel was a go in 2018, Connie Nielsen graced us with a small update in May, telling Entertainment Weekly, "So, we did hear from the producers. I think it's just a question of which film is coming first in Ridley's very tight schedule. And then I think it's a question of COVID and can we get back to work. But I would be interested in doing [the film], for sure. I mean, it's obviously a wonderful project, so of course I would be interested."
As far as Crowe is concerned, he's not reading too much into it. "I can tell you those conversations have been going on since the last day of shooting," he told E!, "the last one and there's been a lot of different ideas of approaching things." However, Crowe admits that he's not part of any conversations as of late.
But hold onto your flaming chariots because even if a sequel were to move forward, there's just one friendly reminder that Crowe has for you: "I keep being like this sort of party pooper when I say, I just wanted to remind you I died in the first one. So, I don't really know. This far away, could we play with that? We could..."
We love that optimism! For now, in case you're still not entertained, you can get your Russell Crowe fix by checking out his new thriller Unhinged in theaters on July 31.