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Obert Opines: How I would re-cast the ‘Gladiator’ remake

How often do you think about the Roman Empire? For weeks, I had to answer the most buzzworthy question of this fall with my head down and metaphorical tail tucked between my legs.

I think about the Roman Empire at least once a week. Not because of the architecture, government or even army, but because in May 2000, Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix and Ridley Scott overcame decades of unsuccessful sword and sandal films to deliver one of the greatest movies ever made: "Gladiator."

After the massive critical and commercial success of "Gladiator," a sequel was rumored to be in development for years. Now, we have a confirmed sequel that will be in theaters in 2024, and unfortunately for me, Scott already re-casted the film himself. However, I don't like Scott's choices, and after seeing "Napoleon" in theaters, it's obvious he could use some help. Rather than building a cast for a "Gladiator" sequel, here's how I would assemble a cast for a "Gladiator" remake.

General Maximus Decimus Meridius — Original: Russell Crowe, Re-Cast: Russell Crowe

Get Crowe back in the Roman armor. I can't stand to watch Crowe waste the twilight of his career starring in films like "The Greatest Beer Run Ever" and "The Pope's Exorcist" any longer. Get him back on his horse, put him in gear and make another damn best picture-winning movie.

For those who have seen the original, it might take some serious re-writing to explain Crowe's age, but I'm prepared to do that. Crowe was on the hottest of acting streaks when the original came out, but the intensity and wisdom he showed playing the titular character was his crowning achievement.

Also, who is this Paul Mescal guy, and what makes him qualified to walk in Crowe's shoes? I know he's playing a different character, but I mean no disrespect when I say the expectations couldn't be higher. The only actor I could see following in Crowe's footsteps would be Robert Pattinson.

Emperor Commodus — Original: Joaquin Phoenix, Re-Cast: Timothee Chalamet

Quiet up and listen down; Chalamet would be the perfect man to play the young, ambitious son of Marcus Aurelius. This role would be a bit of a change of pace for Chalamet, who has recently made his mark playing the protagonist in movies like "Wonka" and "Dune," but it would be a great way to showcase his range in a role that Phoenix shined in.

Marcus Aurelius — Original: Richard Harris, Re-Cast: Harrison Ford

Ford may not give off dying-Roman-emperor-looking-for-a-new-heir vibes, but his age and connection to Scott make him a great candidate. Harris played this role British and no one cared because audiences don't know what an ancient Roman accent sounded like. I would like to see Ford go in a different direction. However, anything half as convincing as Harris' take on Aurelius would be a perfect addition to the cast.

Cicero — Original: Tommy Flanagan, Re-Cast: Daniel Radcliffe

Originally, Cicero was supposed to be a minor part in "Gladiator," but re-watch after re-watch, Maximus' number two always steals the show for me. Cicero is Maximus's ultimate foul-weather friend. 

While all of the other characters betray him or don't care for his well-being after he is seemingly killed in the first act, Cicero seeks him out and eventually works for his escape from enslavement. Maybe this is nostalgia speaking as a "Harry Potter" fan, but Radcliffe would perfectly represent the wholesome nature of the friendship between Cicero and Maximus.

Proximo — Original: Oliver Reed, Re-Cast: Brad Pitt

"Troy" was not the most critically acclaimed movie of Pitt's career, but wouldn't it be poetic justice if he redeemed himself as the mentor and former elite Gladiator Proximo? Pitt holds the complexity and clash between good and evil that resides within the gladiator trainer.

Lucilla — Original: Connie Nielsen, Re-Cast: Anya Taylor-Joy

Funnily enough, Nielsen will be a part of the "Gladiator 2" cast in real life, but for the remake, I would go with Taylor-Joy, who stood out in the 2022 film "The Northman." Some may mistake this part as a simple love interest for Maximus, but the truth is that Commodus' sister deals with the most dramatic and severe moral problems. A lot would be asked of Taylor-Joy, but I know she can deliver.

With a cast like this, how could you not be entertained?

Bobby Gorbett is a senior studying journalism. Please note that the views and opinions of the columnists do not reflect those of The Post. Want to talk more about it? Let Bobby know by tweeting him @GorbettBobby.

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