See the Cast of ‘Gladiator’ Then and Now
Released 13 years ago, Ridley Scott‘s ‘Gladiator’ starred Russell Crowe as a gladiator named Maximus who is betrayed when the king’s son slays his own father and takes over the throne, forcing Maximus to fight in the gladiatorial arena to reclaim his honor.
Take a look back at Crowe and the rest of the cast then, and see what they’re up to now.
Russell Crowe, Maximus Decimus Meridius
Then: Mel Gibson turned down the lead role of Maximus because he felt he was too old for the part. Antonio Banderas and Hugh Jackman were also considered for the role before it went to Russell Crowe, who had garnered acclaim for his role the previous year in ‘The Insider.’
Now: Crowe went on to work with his ‘Gladiator’ director Ridley Scott again in ‘A Good Year,’ ‘American Gangster’ and ‘Robin Hood.’ You can see him on the big screen this summer as Jor-El, father of Superman in ‘Man of Steel.’
Joaquin Phoenix, Commodus
Then: Jude Law was considered for the role of Commodus, the prince who overthrows his own father to viciously reign over the Roman empire. The role went to Joaquin Phoenix, who had previously starred in ‘To Die For’ and ‘Inventing the Abbotts.’
Now: Phoenix had a notoriously sloppy couple of years where he grew a beard and pretended to attempt a rap career for the faux-doc (or was it?) ‘I’m Still Here,’ directed by Casey Affleck, brother of Ben. But he’s on the straight and narrow now — he was nominated for an Oscar for his work in Paul Thomas Anderson’s ‘The Master,’ and he’ll reunite with Anderson for the upcoming film ‘Inherent Vice.’
Connie Nielsen, Lucilla
Then: You might be amused to know that pop star and actress Jennifer Lopez auditioned for the role of Lucilla, sister of Commodus and former lover of Maximus, before it went to Connie Nielsen. The 2,000-year-old ring worn by Nielsen in the film was found by the actress in an antique store.
Now: Nielsen went on to give great performances in ‘One Hour Photo’ and ‘The Ice Harvest.’ She also starred on the short-lived television series ‘Boss.’ Up until last year, Nielsen dated Metallica drummer Lars Ulrich, and the pair have a son together.
Derek Jacobi, Senator Gracchus
Then: A veteran theater actor, Derek Jacobi played the role of Senator Gracchus, a man openly opposed to Commodus. Prior to ‘Gladiator,’ Jacobi had starred in a few films for Kenneth Branagh, including ‘Hamlet.’
Now: Jacobi recently starred in the ITV series ‘Vicious,’ as one half of a bickering gay couple opposite none other than Sir Ian McKellen.
Djimon Hounsou, Juba
Then: A former model who had starred in music videos with Paula Abdul and Janet Jackson, Djimon Hounsou garnered acclaim for his role in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Amistad’ before signing to play Juba, a man sold into slavery who becomes Maximus’ closest ally.
Now: Hounsou went on to star in ‘Push’ and ‘Blood Diamond.’ He dated fellow former model Kimora Lee Simmons for several years; the pair had a son together before splitting in 2012.
Tomas Arana, General Quintus
Then: Another classic theater actor, Tomas Arana starred in ‘The Bodyguard’ and ‘The Hunt for Red October’ prior to landing the role of General Quintus in ‘Gladiator.’
Now: You might have seen Aranas in ‘Limitless’ alongside Bradley Cooper and Robert De Niro, or as Bruce Wayne’s lawyer in ‘The Dark Knight Rises.’
Spencer Treat Clark, Lucius Verus
Then: Spencer Treat Clark landed some pretty high profile gigs as a child actor, including ‘Arlington Road’ and ‘Double Jeopardy,’ before signing on to play Lucius Verus, son of Lucilla.
Now: Clark managed to make it out of the world of child actors and still maintain a successful career. He’s already starred in two films this year: ‘The Last Exorcism Part 2′ and ‘Much Ado About Nothing.’