Based on the strength of his debut film writing credit, Cave was asked if he’d have a crack at Gladiator 2: Step Up 2 The Colosseum. To which he said “yes”.
“He (Crowe) rang me up and asked if I wanted to write Gladiator 2,” Cave says. “For someone who had only written one film script, it was quite an ask.”
One major problem, though. *SPOILER ALERT* Gladiator finishes with Russell Crowe’s character dying to reunite with his family’s holograms in the afterlife, something which apparently doesn’t really matter to Russell Crowe.
“(I said), ‘Hey Russell, didn’t you die in Gladiator 1?’ ‘Yeah, you sort that out,’
Cool story. Nick Cave’s got this, Russell Crowe. So how do we explain the inexplicably reanimated corpse of Maximus Decimus Meridius? Science? No, silly.
“So, he goes down to purgatory and is sent down by the gods, who are dying in heaven because there’s this one god, there’s this Christ character, down on Earth who is gaining popularity and so the many gods are dying so they send Gladiator back to kill Christ and his followers.”
“I wanted to call it Christ Killer,” Cave continues. “And in the end you find out that the main guy was his son, so he has to kill his son and he was tricked by the gods. He becomes this eternal warrior and it ends with this 20 minute war scene which follows all the wars in history, right up to Vietnam and all that sort of stuff and it was wild.”
So it’s like a bizzaro Star Wars but with more monologues and sandals?
“It was a stone cold masterpiece. I enjoyed writing it very much because I knew on every level that it was never going to get made. Let’s call it a popcorn dropper.”
Thank you for sharing, Nick Cave.