Get ready for sandals at dawn! The highly anticipated sequel to Sir Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, starring Paul Mescal, will go head-to-head (and toga with toga) with another gladiator epic: a television drama called Those About to Die starring Sir Anthony Hopkins.
By sheer coincidence, both projects begin production later this month, and I’m told there’s been rivalry over everything from filming locations to props.
Those Who Are About to Die will be filmed at Rome’s legendary Cinecittà studios; while Gladiator 2 will be filmed primarily in Malta, with some studio work in the UK.
Sources indicate that Ridley Scott, 85, was “upset” about not being able to film in Italy, but the other production seems to have won it in that privileged place.
Scott, however, made the original Gladiator in Malta (where there are generous tax breaks for filmmakers), and part of his next epic, Napoleon, was also filmed there.
The highly anticipated sequel to Sir Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, starring Paul Mescal, will go head-to-head (and toga with toga) with another gladiator epic: a television drama called Those About to Die starring Sir Anthony Hopkins.
The budgets are huge. Those About to Die, which will tell the story of how the Romans were given bloodthirsty entertainment at the Colosseum, has a budget of $140m (£116m) for ten episodes, meaning it’s one of the most expensive shows on TV. ever made.
That cost means it’s more per episode than The Crown; on par with The Mandalorian, and only slightly behind House Of The Dragon. Gladiator 2 will probably cost even more. In the UK, it can be revealed, a deal has been made to show the TV series on the BBC.
In addition to Sir Anthony, who will play the Roman Emperor Vespasian, it will feature British actor Jojo Macari (Sex Education), as the son of Emperor Domitian. Tom Hughes (Prince Albert in the television series Victoria) also appears.
Based on the book by author Daniel Mannix, it is being directed by Roland Emmerich, who did Independence Day. In the United States it will air on NBCUniversal.
Both projects have huge casts and hundreds, maybe even thousands, of extras. An accessory ‘situation’ has arisen, with an unprecedented rush of robes, swords, sandals and helmets.
I’m told Gladiator 2 has captured every existing Roman prop, and the TV production has had to resort to making most of their own from scratch.
That About To Die is due out next spring and Gladiator 2 in November 2024.
Tricky Dicky is a really bad boy
Actress Charlie Murphy plays Anna Barton, who falls in love with her fiancé’s father, Will, played by Richard Armitage.
He WAS a hiss-able Guy of Gisborne in Robin Hood and a nasty job in The Stranger, and now Richard Armitage is playing rotten again in Obsession, a Netflix erotic drama that’s an adaptation of Josephine Hart’s novel Damage.
Actress Charlie Murphy plays Anna Barton, who falls in love with her fiancé’s father, Will, played by Armitage. Luther and Game Of Thrones actress Indira Varma also star in the series, due out later this spring.
Damage was adapted for the big screen in 1992, with Jeremy Irons as the unfaithful father and Juliette Binoche as his young lover.
Why couldn’t even a Top Gun flight tempt Tom to the Oscars?
Tom Cruise in Top Gun: Maverick, sequel to the 1986 classic
Despite staging a Top Gun-style flight of two US Navy fighter jets, which roared over the Dolby Theater in Hollywood at the start of the night, the Academy was unable to tempt Tom Cruise to their event. major.
The planes came from the Flying Eagles squadron at a nearby military airbase, and an Academy spokesperson later said: “Many thanks to the US Navy for helping to execute a one-of-a-kind Oscars opening ceremony at the life”.
It probably didn’t cost them anything, but it was a huge favor nonetheless, not to mention the biggest add-on imaginable to Top Gun: Maverick.
And yet, as the dust settles for another year, Cruise’s absence from the show and the reasons behind it are still being pondered.
Theories that he couldn’t stand being in the same room as his ex-wife Nicole Kidman are appealingly simple, but probably “baloney.”
Most now believe that Cruise was disappointed when, despite one nomination, it became clear that Academy members simply weren’t voting for Top Gun in sufficient numbers to win.
I’ve also heard that he was wary of being publicly embarrassed by host Jimmy Kimmel, though that seems unlikely. Comedian executive producer Molly McNearney said: ‘Jimmy loves Tom! Tom had just been on the show the week before and they talked about seeing each other. Jimmy was really disappointed that he didn’t come.
Cruise also heard a rumor that writer-actor Judd Apatow, who made jokes at his expense at the DGA Awards a few days earlier, was helping Kimmel.
In fact, McNearney said Apatow was among the trusted group Kimmel sent the monologue to for investigation, with a summary to say, honestly, if the jokes worked.
“We had a three-minute monologue portion dedicated to Tom Cruise, honoring him and his role in reviving the movie industry,” he insisted. “We were very disappointed when we found out a few days before that he would not be there. Jimmy wanted to celebrate.
In the end, Kimmel joked that the shirtless volleyball sequence in Top Gun 2 was ‘L. Ron Hubba Hubba’, a joke that Scientologist Cruise certainly wouldn’t have appreciated.
Basinger is back to help tarnish our screens
Mickey Rourke and Kim Basinger on the set of 9½ Weeks, directed by Adrian Lyne
The film 9½ Weeks, starring Kim Basinger and Mickey Rourke, had a huge cultural impact when it was released in 1986, thanks to its kinky sex scenes. And I can reveal that Prime Video has commissioned a new version, in the form of a ten-part TV series.
The program, which will be more faithful to the ‘erotic poem’ novel than to the film, will once again feature Basinger, but she will not be the protagonist. Instead, she agreed to take on a role as a college professor.
It has not yet been determined who the two stars will be, but the idea is that they are not too well known. Principal photography will begin this summer in London and Manchester.
As some may recall, the film starred Basinger and Rourke (pictured) as a couple of strangers who quickly find themselves embroiled in a hot but completely random relationship with sadomasochistic overtones.
The original book, which achieved instant notability when it was published in 1978, was written by American journalist Ingeborg Day, under the pen name Elizabeth McNeill.
In the book, which is presented as a memoir, the reader learns that what begins as a one-night stand turns into a sexually submissive relationship that lasts nine and a half weeks. In the end, the narrator has a mental breakdown.
Day wrote a second book, Ghost Waltz, in which he grappled with his Austrian father’s Nazi past and his son’s death as a child. She herself committed suicide in 2011 at the age of 70, without having publicly acknowledged that she was the author of her most famous work.
Yes, Ja! Abbey prepares for the Wild West
Model Abbey is married to footballer Peter Crouch and lives in Surrey with her husband and four children.
Abbey Clancy has always loved horses, but now she started buying ranch online, thanks to the hit TV show Yellowstone.
Model Abbey is married to footballer Peter Crouch and lives in Surrey with her husband and four children. But she dreams of the Wild West. “Obviously, with my obsession with Yellowstone, I just went and bought a pony. Turning our boys into cowboys. He (Peter) said, “Don’t you think that’s a bit girly for boys?” No!
‘It’s literally the life of my dreams. You’ve got this ranch, a wood fire every night, they’re on horseback, and these cowboys are the most romantic.
Crouch added: “I saw her googling, caught her looking at ranches in Montana.”
Harry Hill, who wrote a famously unsuccessful musical on TV talent shows, I Can’t Sing, has not been deterred and will be bringing another of his efforts, Tony! (The Tony Blair Rock Opera), to the West End for a limited duration.
The show, billed as a “reckless reassessment of the life of the former Ugly Rumors frontman and Britain’s first pop prime minister”, had a brief run at the Park Theater in north London last year (when my colleague Patrick Marmion bestowed it with full five stars for ‘two hours of ancient comic lawlessness’).
The cast of characters includes Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden; and there’s some amazing ‘gender-blind’ casting, too, with actress Rosie Strobel playing John Prescott and Sally Cheng as Robin Cook.
The Hill musical I Can’t Sing, which was backed by Simon Cowell, lost £4 million and ran for just over six weeks.
Tony advances! will begin at the Leicester Square Theater on April 15.
Screenplay superstar Russell T. Davies really lives up to his name: He says his favorite gift was a box of 1,000 Tetley tea bags. Davies, the man behind hits like Nolly, Queer As Folk and It’s A Sin, said: “My drink of choice wouldn’t be alcohol, I’d have a cup of tea.” I have a cup of tea everywhere. Just old Tetley.
‘For Christmas my niece bought me 1000 Tetley bags, my favorite gift ever! I drink about four cups a day and I keep track.
He adds that he prefers his tea lukewarm. Shudder!