Singer-songwriter and national treasure Nick Cave has discussed his axed screenplay for Gladiator 2 for the first time, revealing that he wanted to give it the box-office friendly title of Christ Killer, as well as sharing the plot outline and the reasons why the film never saw the green light.
Speaking to US comedian Mark Maron for his podcast WTF, the 55-year-old said Russell Crowe approached him to write the script to the sequel, despite the fact that all of the main characters had died in the first instalment:
“For someone who had only written one film script, it was quite an ask. ‘Hey Russell, didn’t you die in Gladiator 1?’ ‘Yeah, you sort that out.’ 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.”
But the Mercy Seat singer said he knew the project would never see the light of day:
“I wanted to call it ‘Christ Killer’ 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. 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.”
Gladiator director, Ridley Scott, has previously told UGO that they had tried to go with Cave’s script, saying that Crowe did not want to let it go because it “worked brilliantly”, but ultimately would never happen. We’ll just have to console ourselves with the new semi-fictional doco project 20,000 Days On Earth about the Bad Seeds frontman instead, which funnily enough revolves around Cave’s 20,000th day on earth and is set for release in 2014.