Ridley Scott was approached by producers Walter F. Parkes and Douglas Wick. However, Scott felt Franzoni's dialogue was too "on the nose" lacking subtlety and hired John Logan to rewrite the script to his liking. Logan rewrote much of the first act and made the decision to kill off Maximus's family to increase the character's motivation. Russell Crowe describes being eager for the role as pitched by Walter F.
You're being directed by Ridley Scott. You play a Roman General. With two weeks to go before filming, the actors complained of problems with the script. William Nicholson was brought to Shepperton Studios to make Maximus a more sensitive character. Nicholson reworked Maximus' friendship with Juba and developed the afterlife thread in the film, saying, "he did not want to see a film about a man who wanted to kill somebody. The screenplay faced many rewrites and revisions. Crowe allegedly questioned every aspect of the evolving script and strode off the set when he did not get answers.
According to a DreamWorks executive, " Russell Crowe tried to rewrite the entire script on the spot. You know the big line in the trailer, 'In this life or the next, I will have my vengeance'? At first he absolutely refused to say it. Russell Crowe described the script situation: "I read the script and it was substantially underdone. Even the character didn't exist on the pages. And that set about a long process, that's probably the first time that I've been in a situation where the script wasn't a complete done deal.
We actually started shooting with about 32 pages and went through them in the first couple of weeks. Of the writing and filming process, Crowe added, "Possibly, a lot of the stuff that I have to deal with now in terms of my quote unquote volatility has to do with that experience. Here was a situation where we got to Morocco with a crew of and a cast of a or whatever, and I didn't have anything to learn.
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I actually didn't know what the scenes were gonna be. We had, I think, one American writer working on it, one English writer working on it, and of course a group of producers who were also adding their ideas, and then Ridley himself; and then, on the occasion where Ridley would say, 'Look, this is the structure for it — what are you gonna say in that? And this is how things like, 'Strength and honor,' came up.
This is how things like, 'At my signal, unleash hell,' came up. The name Maximus Decimus Meridius, it just flowed well.
Maximus' habit of rubbing soil before each fight references the attachment and affection to his former life as a farmer. In preparation for filming, Scott spent several months developing storyboards to develop the framework of the plot. The unique sprayed-polyurethane system was developed by Armordillo and pioneered for this production. Over a three-month period, 27, component pieces of armor were made. The film was shot in three main locations between January and May The opening battle scenes in the forests of Germania were shot in three weeks in the Bourne Woods , near Farnham , Surrey , in England.
In Malta, a replica of about one-third of Rome's Colosseum was built, to a height of 52 feet The complex was serviced by tented "costume villages" that had changing rooms, storage, armorers, and other facilities. British post-production company The Mill was responsible for much of the computer-generated imagery effects that were added after filming. The company was responsible for such tricks as compositing real tigers filmed on bluescreen into the fight sequences, and adding smoke trails and extending the flight paths of the opening scene's salvo of flaming arrows to get around regulations on how far they could be shot during filming.
They also used 2, live actors to create a computer-generated crowd of 35, virtual actors that had to look believable and react to fight scenes. An unexpected post-production job was caused by the death of Oliver Reed of a heart attack during the filming in Malta, before all his scenes had been shot. What Oliver did was much greater.
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He gave an inspiring, moving performance. All we did was help him finish it. The film is loosely based on real events that occurred within the Roman Empire in the latter half of the 2nd century AD. As Ridley Scott wanted to portray Roman culture more accurately than in any previous film, he hired several historians as advisors. Nevertheless, some deviations from historical fact were made to increase interest, maintain narrative continuity, and for practical or safety reasons.
Scott also stated that due to the influence of previous films affecting the public perception of what ancient Rome was like, some historical facts were "too unbelievable" to include. For instance in an early version of the script, gladiators would have been carrying out product endorsements in the arena; while this would have been historically accurate, it was not filmed for fear that audiences would think it anachronistic.
At least one historical advisor resigned due to these changes. Another asked not to be mentioned in the credits though it was stated in the director's commentary that he constantly asked, "where is the proof that certain things were exactly like they say? Historian Allen Ward of the University of Connecticut believed that historical accuracy would not have made Gladiator less interesting or exciting, stating, "creative artists need to be granted some poetic license, but that should not be a permit for the wholesale disregard of facts in historical fiction".
Costumes in the film are rarely historically correct. Some of the soldiers wear fantasy helmets. The bands wrapped around their lower arms were rarely worn. Their appearance is the product of a filmic stereotype whereby historical movies depict peoples of antiquity wearing such bands. Although the film is set within the 2nd century AD, the Imperial Gallic armor and the helmets worn by the legionaries are from AD 75, a century earlier.
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This was superseded by new designs in AD The legions' standard bearers Aquilifer , centurions , mounted forces , and auxiliaries would have worn scale armour, lorica squamata. The Roman cavalry are shown using stirrups. This is anachronistic in that the horse-mounted forces of the Roman army used a two-horned saddle, without stirrups.
Stirrups were only employed in filming for safety reasons because of the additional training and skill required to ride with a Roman saddle. They were reserved primarily for sieges and were rarely used in open battles.
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Fire arrows and canisters fired from catapults are a myth made by Hollywood and would not have occurred in ancient history. The Praetorian Guards seen in the film are all wearing black uniforms. No historical evidence supports that. On campaign they usually wore standard legionary equipment with some unique decorative elements.
In the bird's eye view of Rome when the city is introduced for the first time there are several buildings that did not exist at the time of Gladiator. For example, the Basilica of Maxentius and Constantine is quite prominent; however, it was not completed until AD The film's plot was influenced by two s Hollywood films of the sword-and-sandal genre, The Fall of the Roman Empire and Spartacus ,  and shares several plot points with The Fall of the Roman Empire , which tells the story of Livius, who, like Maximus in Gladiator , is Marcus Aurelius's intended successor.
Livius is in love with Lucilla and seeks to marry her while Maximus, who is happily married, was formerly in love with her. Both films portray the death of Marcus Aurelius as an assassination. In Fall of the Roman Empire a group of conspirators independent of Commodus, hoping to profit from Commodus's accession, arrange for Marcus Aurelius to be poisoned; in Gladiator Commodus himself murders his father by smothering him. In the course of Fall of the Roman Empire Commodus unsuccessfully seeks to win Livius over to his vision of empire in contrast to that of his father, but continues to employ him notwithstanding; in Gladiator , when Commodus fails to secure Maximus's allegiance, he executes Maximus's wife and son and tries unsuccessfully to execute him.
Livius in Fall of the Roman Empire and Maximus in Gladiator kill Commodus in single combat, Livius to save Lucilla and Maximus to avenge the murder of his wife and son, and both do it for the greater good of Rome. Scott cited Spartacus and Ben-Hur as influences on the film: "These movies were part of my cinema-going youth. Both films also share a specific set piece, wherein a gladiator Maximus here, Woody Strode 's Draba in Spartacus throws his weapon into a spectator box at the end of a match, as well as at least one line of dialogue: "Rome is the mob", said here by Gracchus and by Julius Caesar John Gavin in Spartacus.
The film's depiction of Commodus's entry into Rome borrows imagery from Leni Riefenstahl 's Nazi propaganda film Triumph of the Will , although Scott has pointed out that the iconography of Nazi rallies was itself inspired by the Roman Empire.
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Gladiator reflects back on the film by duplicating similar events that occurred in Adolf Hitler 's procession. The Nazi film opens with an aerial view of Hitler arriving in a plane, while Scott shows an aerial view of Rome, quickly followed by a shot of the large crowd of people watching Commodus pass them in a procession with his chariot. At one point in the Nazi film, a little girl gives flowers to Hitler, while Commodus is met by several girls who all give him bundles of flowers.
Zimmer was originally planning to use Israeli vocalist Ofra Haza for the score, after his work with her in The Prince of Egypt. However, Haza died in late February , before she was able to record, and so Gerrard was chosen instead. Lisa Gerrard's vocals are similar to her own work on The Insider score. Some of the music from the film was featured in the NFL playoffs in January before commercial breaks and before and after half-time. But his hopes, his dreams and his ambitions turned into a terrifying ordeal and a desperate struggle to stay alive.
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