07/13/2013 01:07 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

'Gladiator' Sequel's Odd Turns Made Maximus Immortal In Script Called 'Christ Killer,' Reveals Writer Nick Cave


So, about that "Gladiator" sequel that's been in the works for, oh, 12 years? Some odd new details have emerged regarding its progress -- or lack thereof.

It turns out the script Russell Crowe commissioned rocker Nick Cave to write in 2009 -- which was completed and subsequently rejected by the studios -- took some wild turns, as Cave revealed during a recent episode of the podcast "WTF With Marc Maron."

Cave said Crowe "eventually rang me up and asked if I wanted to write 'Gladiator 2,' and for someone who had only written one film script ['Ghosts... of the Civil Dead'], it was quite an ask." While his lack of experience may have served as the initial hurdle, Cave found a bigger one: "Hey, Russell, didn't you die in 'Gladiator 1'?" he asked. To which Crowe replied, "Yeah, you sort that out."

What followed was something called "Christ Killer," a resuscitation of the first "Gladiator" that attempted to make Maximus immortal and include a Jesus character. In Cave's proposed sequel, Crowe's character "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."

The plot gets more complicated, but what's more interesting is the conflicting reactions to the script that have been reported. Cave said on "WTF" that Crowe nixed the effort immediately with a simple, "Don't like it, mate." But in 2009, The Guardian reported that Crowe and director Ridley Scott were attempting to work with Cave's product, with Scott reportedly saying the "storytelling works brilliantly."

Still, Cave, who went on to pen the 2012 Shia LaBeouf vehicle "Lawless," told Maron he knew the script wouldn't be made, despite it being a "stone-cold masterpiece."

Read the full script below, courtesy of IndieWire:

Gladiator 2 by Nick Cave



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