Russell Crowe Says ‘Bad’ Obstacle Turned Him Off Before He Took ‘Gladiator’

The 2000 epic “Gladiator” gave lead actor Russell Crowe his first and only Oscar and a huge career boost. But Crowe told Jimmy Fallon Wednesday that a “bad” problem initially turned him off.

“The script that they had was bad,” Crowe said on “The Tonight Show.” “It was so bad!”

The idea of Crowe not playing Maximus, the Roman general reduced to a gladiator, might seem unsettling to fans. Crowe explained how it all worked out in the end.

A producer, unaware that Crowe already read an early copy of the script, told the actor he didn’t want to send him the screenplay because he “wouldn’t respond to it,” Crowe recalled.

Crowe said the producer gave him this pitch instead:

“Here’s the thing I want you to think about: It’s 180 AD and you’re a Roman general and you’re being directed by Ridley Scott. Just think about that!”

Crowe said he and Scott “clicked” in their first meeting ― and the rest is cinematic history.

Watch the interview above.

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