In the “Gladiator” sequel, Russell Crowe has joked that he’ll return as General Maximus Decimus Meridius as a corpse that is “six feet under” the Coliseum.
The enraged Roman commander he portrayed in Ridley Scott’s 2000 epic won the 58-year-old actor an Oscar, but he has now said he wouldn’t be taking the lead in the much-anticipated sequel, which is set 20 years after the first movie.
“I imagine that while they’re filming in the Colosseum and things, I’ll be lying like six feet down. You won’t see me, but I’ll be there beneath the earth”, he said in jest on The Jonathan Ross Show.
Russell said that he had discussed the sequel with filmmaker Ridley Scott, 85, of “Blade Runner,” but they had come to the conclusion that his role was best left unfinished.
“I’ve had a few dinners with Ridley since he started this, but we haven’t really discussed what he’s doing,” he said, “But I’m not involved, I promise. Maximus is no longer with us.”
Russell said that filming his most recent movie, “The Pope’s Exorcist,” in Rome was a first for him, as “Gladiator” was shot in London and Morocco.
People sometimes believe that I have done a lot of filmmaking in Rome, but we really shot “the other gig” (Gladiator) in London and Morocco, he said.
Our version of the Colosseum was in Malta. My first time ever filming in Rome was for this movie.
Russell also described how playing Maximus helped the cast and crew of “The Pope’s Exorcist” escape a precarious scenario when local officials blocked a key bridge for them but production had gone over schedule.
He said they didn’t say anything. They were calm about it, contrary to my expectation that they would approach us waving.
Also, “Thanks very much for keeping the bridge open,” and the person replied, “No problem, Maximus,” after it was done.