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Russell Crowe reveals iconic scene in Gladiator was ‘made up on the night’
Featured Image Credit: YouTube/ Vanity Fair / Photo 12 / Alamy

Russell Crowe reveals iconic scene in Gladiator was ‘made up on the night’

He said they started filming with just 21 pages of script agreed upon

Russell Crowe has revealed that one of Gladiator's ‘huge story points’ was made up on the night of filming.

Crowe, 59, starred as gladiator Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 blockbuster - a role which won him an Oscar for Best Actor. You can see the scene here:

The critically acclaimed historical drama, directed by Ridley Scott, also earned itself a Best Picture Oscar as well as a slew of other awards and is widely regarded as one of the best movies of the 2000s.

So you may be surprised to learn that much of the movie was made up off-the-cuff, according to Crowe.

During an interview with Vanity Fair, the Hollywood star said when they started filming they had just 21 pages of script that was agreed on - for context, Crowe added that a usual script is between 103 and 110 pages long.

Crowe said this meant that by the time the cast and crew headed out to the flick’s second shooting location they were ‘sort of catching up’.

Russell Crowe won an Oscar for his role in Gladiator.
Universal Pictures

And this led to one of the movie’s most famous scenes being made up ‘on the night’.

In the scene, Crowe’s Maximus is fresh from battle and is praying while his mind flashes back to his beloved wife and child.

While reciting his prayers, Maximus has numerous candles and figures in front of him, one of which he picks up and kisses.

But these ‘trinkets’ were actually a late addition to the script, with Crowe explaining: “Ridley wanted to shoot me doing this after battle prayer and amongst the trinkets on the shelf that the art department had left there, they had these little figurines.

"So I picked up these figurines and directed a prayer towards them as if they are my wife and child. That ends up becoming this huge story point, but that was created on the night.

Universal Pictures

“And there was an actor in the room there - playing Cicero - guy called Tommy Flanagan.

"He was booked as a day player for one day’s work and we shot that scene and Ridley was, like, ‘there’s something about those figurines we have to figure out… there’s something about that - so we had to hang onto that actor’.

"That led to Tommy Flanagan being flown to Malta for months… he was there for months.

"We still didn’t know what we were going to do but we knew we were going to come back to his character.

“And then as it turned out, we came up with the idea of him not only coming to see Maximus but bringing the figurines.”

Topics: Film and TV, Celebrity