Ridley Scott says Gladiator sequel idea originated from just one image

”It’s a picture of this big painting of the Coliseum, and in the corner there is this guy….”

Universal Pictures

In a new interview with Deadline, “Alien” and “The Last Duel” helmer Ridley Scott spoke a little about his recently-announced “Gladiator” sequel – declaring the script done and dusted and ripe for shooting.

DEADLINE: You continue to line up the directing projects. I’d revealed your Gladiator sequel focusing on Lucius, the young ruler Maximus saved by killing his uncle Commodus. At the time, Peter Craig was on it, but now your Kitbag writer David Scarpa is on it.

SCOTT: Oh, it’s been written. It’s already been written. We have a good footprint, a good, logical place to go. You can’t just do another Gladiator type movie. You’ve got to follow…there’s enough components from the first one to pick up the ball and continue it.

DEADLINE: The last one won Best Picture, one of five Oscars. What is it about that Gladiator world that warrants a return?

SCOTT: First of all, I love doing period films. I love the research. I love to create sort of smells of the period. I think what we did with the first Gladiator…I don’t like being critical of other things that have happened before, but I wasn’t the biggest fan of Hollywood Roman epics, honestly. They felt artificial and so, when I was asked to consider a script, the script was not very good. But the person who gave it to me said, I want to show you one thing, and he picked up an illustration, this is true, it’s called For Those About to Die by Gérôme. He holds it up. It’s a picture of this big painting of the Coliseum, and in the corner there is this guy, about to tuna fork this poor bastard. He’s got this thing in his neck, and he’s looking up for permission to kill. I went, bloody hell, that’s never been done properly before. Never. I said, I’ll do it. He said you will? I said yes. Did you want to read the script? I said no, and we went off and hit the ground running around the table, and evolved the new material.

DEADLINE: One image?

SCOTT: It’s one image that got me. It was the smartest thing to do, for them to show me an image because I’m an image man. I went oh, my God. Yeah. What a good idea. I’ll do it. That was it. To be fair to the writer at that moment. There was a lot of work to be done on that script, and we reworked it.

In another part of the interview, Scott mentions that he’d love to do a western.

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