The first shot on day 1 of production on 'Gladiator' in January 1999 is the first one used in the film and our introduction to Maximus. While complex battle scenes were being prepared, Ridley Scott improvised a moment where @russellcrowe contemplates a bird on the battlefield... pic.twitter.com/E2yyswScer— Gareth Harney (@OptimoPrincipi) March 25, 2023
Facts from All The Right Movies (@atrightmovies) Twitter thread on Gladiator 1:
1) Ridley Scott’s swords-and-sandals classic GLADIATOR was released 23 years ago today. An enormous production full of star names, the making of story is as epic as the film itself.
2) Dreamworks always wanted Ridley Scott as director, but he wasn’t certain. To convince him, they showed him an 1872 painting by Jean Leon Gerome - Pollice Verso – as what they wanted to recreate. Scott said the painting played a part in him signing on.
3) Scott’s vision was a huge production:
- Over 10,000 costumes and 30,000 pieces of armour were created.
- They built a 52-ft tall Colosseum. It took 7 months to build and cost $1m.
- Ground-breaking digital effects created the city, pushing effects boundaries of the time.
11) Crowe threw himself into the role. Over the course of the film, he lost all feeling in his right forefinger for two years. He also aggravated his achilles, broke his foot, cracked his hip, and popped some bicep tendons out of their sockets.
22) Scott had 5 tigers and an expert on hand with tranquiliser darts should anything go wrong. The tigers weren’t allowed within 15ft of Crowe but, due to a miscalculation, an11 ft tiger got within two feet and swiped at him. That shot is in the film.
24) The first screenwriter to work on Gladiator was David Franzoni. He started developing the story in the 1970s and got the idea from a book about the Roman games called Those Who Are About To Die (1958) by Daniel P. Mannix.
25) Ridley Scott didn’t like Franzoni’s dialogue much, so hired John Logan (Any Given Sunday) to rewrite Gladiator. It was Logan who made the decision to kill off Maximus’ family as character motivation.
35) Gladiator had an impact on interest in Roman history after it was released. The New York Times called it, “The Gladiator Effect,” and books like Cicero’s biography and Marcus Aurelius’ meditations received massive spikes in sales.
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