How Russell Crowe made sure his dying uncle watched ‘Gladiator’

Gladiator celebrated its 20th anniversary on May 5, 2020. To commemorate the Oscar-winning film, Paramount released a new anniversary edition of the 4K / Blu-ray steelbook. Russell Crowe portrayed Maximus, a Roman general forced into arena combat by César Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix). Commodus’ plan fails when Maximum wins hearts and minds in the arena, and from his sister Luclla (Connie Nielsen).

Russell Crowe vs tiger | Universal Images / Getty

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The latest edition of Gladiator It comes with hours and hours of additional features collected from all previous editions. There are some real gems to discover on set, including this poignant story that Crowe tells in a question-and-answer session with an audience.

Russell Crowe lost his uncle just when ‘Gladiator’ came out

Crowe’s uncle was New Zealand cricketer Dave Crowe. When the audience asked Crowe who his heroes were, Crowe chose his uncle.

Russell Crowe | Jeff Kravitz / FilmMagic, Inc

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“My uncle Dave actually,” Crowe said at the Q&A sometime in 2001. “He died last year, 66. He was a great man.”

‘Gladiator’ was the last Russell Crowe movie Dave Crowe saw

At the end of Dave’s life, it was clear that he wasn’t going to see Gladiator. If it opened on May 5, 2000 in the United States, it would take months longer to travel the world. Russell used his influence to make sure Uncle Dave saw him.

Russell Crowe | Universal / Getty Images

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“We had the opportunity, and Dreamworks actually did it, because we were doing press things,” Crowe said. “Her daughter Debbie called. She said: ‘He is very, very sick.’ New Zealand did not launch Gladiator Until months later. I told them that if they were going to give me an impression so that I could examine my uncle in New Zealand, I would fly to Australia and put pressure on Australia. So we made the deal and Dreamworks and Universal came together and that’s what we did. “

The screening of ‘Gladiator’ really cheered Dave Crowe

Crowe goes on to describe how the day he showed Gladiator his uncle really cheered up his last days.

“So I had to go to Auckland and he hadn’t been awake for more than an hour and a half or two hours for about 10 days by then,” Crowe said. “So I had to go to Auckland and show the film and he came to Malta while we were filming, so I had a real personal connection to it. I was able to screen the film for him and he stayed awake for about 14 hours that day. Everyone in the family was amazed. ”

What did Uncle Dave think about the nephew Russell Crowe movie?

If you see more of Russell Crowe’s questions and answers, you’ll see him sarcastically interacting with the audience. Apparently, he got it from his uncle.

Connie Nielsen and Russell Crowe | Universal / Getty Images

“To show that he’s a cheeky bastard … I’m sitting next to him, I tell him I love him and so on,” Crowe said. “My grandmother is called Lois. She died a long, long time ago. I’m sitting next to him and he says, ‘That was a good movie. I will tell Lois. Do you know where he lives? And I say, ‘Oh’. I went to speak and he said, “No, I will see her before you do.” He was a cracker, an absolute cracker. “