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'Until Eternity Itself Has Said Its Prayers'
May 4, 2009 6:34 AM   Subscribe

A few years ago, Russell Crowe, star of the breakaway Ridley Scott hit Gladiator, ran into fellow Australian Nick Cave and managed to convince the exotic dancer and sometime screenwriter to consider writing a sequel of the Roman period piece for him. The resulting script included the reincarnation of Maximus as the eternal warrior, the betrayal of Hephaestus, the sickness unto death of the Roman gods, the martyrdoms of St. Irenaeus of Lyon and St. Cassian of Imola, the persecution of Emperor Decius, the Crusades, and the Vietnam war; it ended in the men's bathroom at the Pentagon. Here is a review and detailed synopsis of that script, which was unfortunately (though not too surprisingly) rejected by the studios.

Amazingly, between writing outlandish scripts and taking off his clothes for money, Cage has found time over the last fifty years to pursue various careers as an amateur magician, a presumptuous monarch, a compassionately agnostic christian, Odysseus, a notably self-entitled literary critic, a scary guy who seems to be in love, a very nice and mild-mannered middle american evangelical who loves kittens, and even a mean motherfucker called Stagger Lee.

Nowadays you always have to do videos for albums; it's a standard record company requirement, and Nick Cave is always complaining about this. A few years ago, the suits came to him again and said they'd set up meetings with producers and videographers so that he could made a video for his latest. He was feeling punchy, so he asked them: 'what's the most popular thing to put in a video right now?' An uncharacteristically honest wag among them replied: 'the rear ends of scantily-clad black girls.' To which Nick Cave reportedly replied: all right then, bring it on.

If anyone can find a copy of Nick Cave's Gladiator 2 script and pass it on to me, they will be justly rewarded both in this life and the next.
posted by koeselitz (44 comments total) 46 users marked this as a favorite

 
Yeah, it'd be great to see the actual script and all, but I'd pay serious cash money for a video of the pitch meeting.
posted by FelliniBlank at 6:40 AM on May 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


It also seems worthwhile to note that it seems as though the best criticism of the screenplay that the linked reviewer can come up with is: 'This script renders most of the original film moot.'
posted by koeselitz at 6:41 AM on May 4, 2009


One huge previously.
posted by cjorgensen at 6:41 AM on May 4, 2009


Yes, should've mentioned the_very_hungry_caterpillar awesome previous post on Mr. NE Cage. Check it out—it's a good one.
posted by koeselitz at 6:43 AM on May 4, 2009


Is it Gladiator 2?
posted by Joe Beese at 6:46 AM on May 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


N. Cave/Cage confusion in full effect. Had they not spent their early career dropping so many references to Elvis, maybe it wouldn't be so easy to do.
posted by bendybendy at 6:48 AM on May 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


So it'd be like Doctor Who, except with violence?

Sure, sign me up.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:48 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


The resulting script included the reincarnation of Maximus as the eternal warrior...

I hope Maximus gets cool double chain blades and a facial tattoo.
posted by rokusan at 6:49 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is not a reflection on the quality of the piece, but I’m not really interested in seeing a sequel to Gladiator featuring elements of mythology and the supernatural. They weren’t present in the first film and they simply feel out of place here.

It’s like making an action-packed follow-up to Schindler’s List with a cryogenically-frozen Liam Neeson helping to save a doomed alien species 10,000 years in the future.


THAT WOULD BE SO AWESOME
posted by Greg Nog at 6:49 AM on May 4, 2009 [15 favorites]


yeesh, bendy, I've done it twice. That's what I get for staying up half the night and writing code between youtube videos.
posted by koeselitz at 6:50 AM on May 4, 2009


I'm surprised that massive bogan Crowe even knows who Nick Cave is
posted by dydecker at 6:54 AM on May 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


the sickness unto death of the Roman gods

For some reason I picture this as the gods loitering around their Olympian god-office cubicles, staring in disbelief at the pink slips in their last paychecks.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 6:56 AM on May 4, 2009


Reading the synopsis and knowing it had been rejected, I couldn't help but get the feeling that they should have pitched it to Mel Gibson. He'ld make it.
posted by Sova at 6:57 AM on May 4, 2009


pppst! The Empire Never Ended, pass it on!
posted by The Whelk at 7:00 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Awesome. Will give this a proper read once I have a bit more time.

The Proposition is one of my favorite films because of the extremely powerful writing supported by equally strong music, both by Mr. Cave. (Not that it hurts that the cast includes Hurt, Huston, Winstone, Watson and Pearce...)
posted by slimepuppy at 7:02 AM on May 4, 2009


meant to include, tho no idea why: 'Let It Be' / 'Here Comes The Sun'
posted by koeselitz at 7:03 AM on May 4, 2009


pssst! The Umpire Got Rear Ended, pass it on!
posted by P.o.B. at 7:04 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Did anybody else hear the synopsis to the tune of "The Carny" as they read it?
posted by katillathehun at 7:09 AM on May 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


The sequel to the sequel could end up in a dystopian future where law and order has broken down and people form gangs in the desert to fight for survival.

They could call it Mad Maximus.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:10 AM on May 4, 2009 [9 favorites]


upon a reread, katillathehun, yes!
posted by kuujjuarapik at 7:19 AM on May 4, 2009


the best criticism of the screenplay that the linked reviewer can come up with is: 'This script renders most of the original film moot.'

That's the best part.
posted by mullacc at 7:20 AM on May 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


That would be a lot more interesting of a Roman Empire epic than the actual Gladiator which, as best as I can tell, won the Academy Award for "Best Picture in a Slow Year."

But this is one of those movies which will go unmade until the next economic bubble, at which time there will be way too much capital chasing way too few investment opportunities, and $100 million will be raised to make this movie with investors and the director operating under the delusion that it will have enough of a mass market appeal to recoup its costs and turn a profit.
posted by deanc at 7:23 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I had no idea Nick Cave wrote The Proposition. What a harrowing film.
posted by Mister_A at 7:35 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Tell me when they release a movie about Rome and the statues are painted. If they can't even get that right, I'm not interested in the rest.

Yes, I know about HBO's Rome. Own it on DVD.
posted by graymouser at 7:37 AM on May 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


The two make their way to a massive, ruined temple near the encampment. Maximus enters and finds the Roman Gods (Jupiter, Apollo, Pluto, Neptune, Mars, Mercury, and Bacchus) who mock his predicament. Still, they offer a deal: their brother, Hephaestos, has run off to the desert filled with bad ideas. He is gathering apostates/fanatics and slowly amassing a power greater than their own. As a result, they’ve aged…grown weak and diseased. They want Maximus to seek out Hephaestos and kill him.
That sounds so awesome! Can't somebody please make this Film?
posted by kolophon at 7:48 AM on May 4, 2009


Wait, if this is Roman, shouldn't Hephaestos be Vulcan?

Or has Spock ruined history too?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 7:51 AM on May 4, 2009


I always thought Cave's Gladiator 2 sounded a lot like Izo. (This is a good thing.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:53 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


I would sit outside the theatre in a beanbag chair for a year waiting for this movie to premiere.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:05 AM on May 4, 2009


Kinda sounds like the plot to Eternal Darkness: Sanity's Requiem. Get to work on a sequel to that, Crowe.
posted by electroboy at 8:18 AM on May 4, 2009


Russell Crowe and Nick Cave's movie about time-traveling god-killing undead gladiators would probably be a bad movie, but a movie about Russel Crowe and Nick Cave trying to get a movie about time-traveling god-killing undead gladiators made would almost certainly be a great movie, especially if Russell Crowe was played by Nick Cage, and Nick Cave by Russell Crowe.
posted by regicide is good for you at 8:26 AM on May 4, 2009 [21 favorites]


Moorcock, "Eternal Champion."
posted by crazyhorse at 8:43 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's a shame that money can so frequently ruin artists, or I'd suggest that the world find a way to hurl money at Nick Cave and just enjoy whatever appeared at the other end of the creative process.
posted by adipocere at 8:45 AM on May 4, 2009 [6 favorites]


Is this going to be one of those things I just see one day in a DVD bin in a dusty market somewhere in east Asia, like Starship Troopers 2, having no idea until that point that it had been made?
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:20 AM on May 4, 2009


A DVD bin in a dusty market somewhere in east Asia, like Starship Troopers 2...

Starship Troopers pitch: "It's like Aliens meets Porky's Revenge."
posted by rokusan at 9:29 AM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


While this script seems to have impressive elements, by the end it suffers from the malaise of so many modern films, particularly in the fanatasy blockbuster genre - you have so many ideas/attempts at mythical posturing/change of pace/characters/subplots etc going on you forget what the bloody point of it all is. See Hellboys I and II for further details.

Couldn't Cave have just written a straightforward quality historical epic and erased the memory of the cliche ridden original?
posted by Summer at 9:31 AM on May 4, 2009


Nick Cave's eventual apotheosis is assured, but to the universe I offer this warning: Universe, Nick Cave will be a deity and a constellation in our very own epoch or I will personally kick your shitty paper-mache confines into acheronian shreds.
posted by Haruspex at 9:56 AM on May 4, 2009 [3 favorites]


This is amazing.
posted by Stephen Elliott at 12:18 PM on May 4, 2009


I just don't understand how someone can not want to see this movie.

However I think the lack of lizard people rising from under the ground to take over the world is what the script really needs to get going. I guess Nick Cave could make it a trilogy.
posted by Allan Gordon at 12:31 PM on May 4, 2009


So, basically, Casca meets the Highlander, only with a few martyrs thrown in to let you know that the lads have been to school. Well, why not? Everyone's got a bugfuck-crazy vanity project in them, somewhere, even if it's in the low-rent district of their alimentary canal.
posted by Halloween Jack at 12:38 PM on May 4, 2009


Summer: While this script seems to have impressive elements, by the end it suffers from the malaise of so many modern films, particularly in the fanatasy blockbuster genre - you have so many ideas/attempts at mythical posturing/change of pace/characters/subplots etc going on you forget what the bloody point of it all is. See Hellboys I and II for further details.

Couldn't Cave have just written a straightforward quality historical epic and erased the memory of the cliche ridden original?


You're right in some ways, but I don't believe Nick Cave is really very intent on being a screenwriter. From his Variety profile:

"I'm very comfortable in my day job as a musician," he insists. "The last thing I ever wanted to get involved with is Hollywood. The way it works is that people get an idea you could possibly do something, but there's a one-in-a-hundred chance that it could get made. It's a waste of fucking time, and I have a lot to do."

So I'm that, when he got asked to do this, he went at it with the proper perspective: knowing that a script that he spent a year writing and working on to make it absolutely perfect would be turned down anyway. 'Eh- you want a script? For a sequel to Gladiator? Well, fuck, I can write you one of those—here.'

He's a fantastic writer, as Russell Crowe says rightly. This script is, I'm sure, what a fantastic writer looks like when he's just having fun.
posted by koeselitz at 12:46 PM on May 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Holy crap! Casca is still being published?! Man, when I originally read this article I thought, "whoa, Nick Cave may owe something to the Saddler estate."
posted by jadepearl at 5:15 PM on May 4, 2009


This is amazing.

So amazing, there's MeTa about it.
posted by crossoverman at 5:21 PM on May 4, 2009


I'm surprised that massive brogan Crow even knows how I can rock the typos
posted by From Bklyn at 8:36 AM on May 5, 2009


For anyone who's interested, I did some follow-up googling and…well, I found it. It is, as I expected, better than the review makes it out to be; this movie would probably cause a certain amount of controversy. People have taken to saying that it would “make a bad sequel” because it subverts the original, but I disagree strongly; it's an incredibly interesting meditation on Christianity and its (original, anyway) pacifism; there are a lot of really fascinating and dramatic scenes that people could very well have had interesting arguments about, and I have a feeling that American “christians” would have been particularly perplexed, considering that they would probably have cheered to see Maximus leadings early Christians in battle against pagan Rome (given the generally bellicose nature of conservatives on this continent) but even they would have gotten the distinct feeling the early Christians weren't really supposed to kill people, pagan or not.

Anyhow, here it is:

GLADIATOR 2
by
Nick Cave


Enjoy…
posted by koeselitz at 10:06 PM on June 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


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