Ridley Scott drew inspiration from his childhood for Gladiator 2

“I am a child of war, I experienced daily bombings and nights in air raid shelters,” says the director, who draws a parallel between his experience and that of the character Lucius.

With the release of the trailer of Gladiator 2fans of the epic released in 2000 have finally been able to discover the first images of this new epic set against the backdrop of the Roman Empire. A sequel that its director took twenty-four years to bring to fruition, and which draws its origins from a much deeper and more complex reflection than one might think.

At eighty-six years old, Ridley Scottwho has been around a lot, was inspired by his own childhood to design the character of Lucius, played by Paul Mescal.

“I am a child of war, I have known daily bombings and nights in air raid sheltershe recalls in the columns of Variety. As you might expect, I didn't have much affection for the Germans. In 1947, at the age of 10, I found myself in Hamburg and Frankfurt, because my father was at the forefront of the reconstruction of Germany, as part of the Marshall Plan, he recalls. I witnessed all this from the front row. That's the atmosphere in which I grew up.”

A parallel is then necessary between this personal story and that of Lucius who, exiled by his mother Lucilla (Connie Nielsen) in North Africa, will be forced to return to a Rome he abhors as a prisoner of war. Caught in the Roman system of “bread and circuses” Under the label of gladiator, Lucius soon established himself as a representative of the plebs, of Roman society from below. As Paul Mescal specifies:

“He would like to have nothing to do with Rome. At first, his only wish is to destroy everything. The Romans knew how to be very bloodthirsty. They went from continent to continent, subjugating villages and entire nations. The film does not hide this violence, of which the emperors are central figures. Lucius sees clearly in the game of these corrupt elites, he is very perceptive and is not afraid of the powerful, which makes him particularly dangerous in their eyes.”

Aidan Monaghan/Paramount Pictures

The idea of ​​destruction/reconstruction is essential for Ridley Scott, whose father, an engineer, participated in the construction of the landing stages which enabled the Normandy landings, but also in the rebuilding of Germany as part of the Marshall Plan at the end of the war.

“My father was very pro-German in the sense that he wanted to help them recover from the war. When we got there, it was like an atomic bomb had been dropped on Germany. When he was done, my father felt it was time for us to leave, but the Germans wouldn’t let him go. They offered him the job of director of the port authority, and he said no. I thought he should have taken it. And I remember when I said it, I was shut down.”

Here's one origin story which promises a complex character and particular attention to nuance, but which also justifies this second part. In forty-seven years of career, and with twenty-eight films to his credit, Ridley Scott is thus on his third franchise, he who launched the saga of Alien in 1979, and created the universe of Blade Runner three years later, in 1982; two accomplishments that somewhat eluded him.

“I created two franchises. In Hollywood, most directors, at least those at my level, are inflexible on these kinds of issues. But, Alien was only my second film and Blade Runner my third. And I didn't have much choice. My partners were very tough in business. I discovered the cutthroat world of Hollywood. In the 1980s, the possibility of making sequels simply did not exist. I was never warned or asked. You can imagine that I was not particularly thrilled.”

In short, Gladiatorit's his baby; he has it, and he's keeping it. And there's no question of making it anything other than a resolutely personal and, above all, current cinematographic object:

“A chaotically driven empire, led by demagogues – a term that is still very relevant today. The leaders are crazy, but everyone is too afraid to contradict them. It doesn’t seem so far away, does it?”


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