William Nicholson on Rewriting ‘Gladiator’ and Landing an Unexpected Credit

On Friday we begin a series of LondonSWF replays, the very best of our past events replayed live. We kick off with Gladiator screenwriter William Nicholson. That will take place this Friday at 8pm UK time….

When: Friday Feb 23rd at 8pm UK time
Where: https://londonswf.link/Friday
Anyone can attend free.

In this session from LondonSWF2021, William Nicholson recounted his unexpected journey into the heart of the ‘Gladiator’ production, transforming the script and leaving a mark on the epic film. His involvement began when producer Doug Wick sought his expertise amid a script crisis, with the cast, led by Russell Crowe, expressing dissatisfaction and the project already $20 million deep.

Nicholson’s intervention was pivotal. He envisioned the protagonist, not merely as a soldier, but as a farmer with a profound longing to reunite with his late wife, infusing the story with depth and universal appeal. This perspective reshaped the narrative, bringing emotional layers to both the character’s journey and the film’s battle sequences.

The ripple effect of Nicholson’s suggestions was immediate, influencing the script and the direction of the film. His ongoing engagement with the production team led to a dynamic script evolution, challenging yet ultimately rewarding for the cast and crew. Despite the hurdles, including adapting to continual script changes, Nicholson’s innovative contributions earned him an unexpected credit, a rarity in the realm of production rewrites.

Reflecting on the experience, Nicholson expressed pride in his contribution to ‘Gladiator,’ a film that not only faced and overcame significant challenges but also cemented its place as a cinematic masterpiece. His story is a testament to the impact of creative collaboration and the unexpected paths to recognition in the film industry.

You can watch the entire interview LIVE on Friday…
When: Friday Feb 23rd at 8pm UK time
Where: https://londonswf.link/Friday

Chris Jones
Filmmaker, Author and Firewalk Instructor
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Directing splinter unit on Mission: Impossible 8
Exec producing The Enfield Poltergeist

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