1 Germania The battle
1.1.1 AT THE HEIGHT OF ITS POWER, THE ROMAN EMPIRE WAS VAST, STRETCHING FROM THE DESERTS OF AFRICA TO THE BORDERS OF NORTHERN ENGLAND.
1.1.2 OVER ONE QUARTER OF THE WORLD’S POPULATION LIVED AND DIED UNDER THE RULE OF THE CAESARS.
1.1.3 IN THE WINTER OF 180 A.D. EMPEROR MARCUS AURELIUS’ TWELVE-YEAR CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE BARBARIAN TRIBES IN GERMANIA WAS DRAWING TO AN END.
1.1.4 ONE FINAL STRONGHOLD STANDS IN THE WAY OF ROMAN VICTORY AND THE PROMISE OF PEACE THROUGHOUT THE EMPIRE.
1.2 Germania – prebattle. At the top of the hill, overlooking the battlefield, on horseback, sits Caesar Marcus Aurelius, surrounded by the Roman Praetorian guards. Below, on the battlefield, alongside the muddied path of the battle-devastated forest, the cavalry rides past Maximus. They are on their way to their battle post amongst the trees to stand ready for their attack through the rear flanks of the barbarians. Soldiers line up for battle as Maximus walks along the ranks of the army. The soldiers rise as he approaches, looking at him with respect, addressing him with admiration as they call out his name, “General” — He passes through the ranks with a smile as he greets the soldiers. This is the man who will lead them to victory, and hopefully his leadership will keep them alive. As Maximus continues along the path, he approaches and addresses Quintus and Valerius
1.2.1 MAXIMUS: Lean and hungry. Still nothing?
1.2.2 QUINTUS: Not a sign.
1.2.3 MAXIMUS: How long has he been gone?
1.2.4 VALERIUS: Nearly 2 hours.
1.2.5 VALERIUS: Will they fight, sir?
1.2.6 MAXIMUS: We shall know soon enough.
1.3 Quintus studies the soldiers readying the catapults
1.3.1 QUINTUS: Soldier, I ordered you to move those catapults forward, they’re out of range.
1.3.2 MAXIMUS: Range is good.
1.3.3 QUINTUS: The danger to the cavalry…
1.3.4 MAXIMUS [interrupts]: It is acceptable, agreed?
1.4 In the distance, the cries of the barbarians can be heard – “ihr seid hunde” (you are dogs!). A horse with a rider emerge from the German line. Maximus watches closely as the horseman approaches and announces, “They say no”, as he views the headless horseman. The white and bloodied horse rides within the ranks of the Roman soldiers as a barbarian comes to the forefront of the German lines, waving the horseman’s head….
1.4.1 BARBARIANS: “ihr seid hunde”
1.4.2 MAXIMUS: They say no [The barbarian calls out his cry and tosses the head into the mud as his mangy band of barbarians emerge from the forest, shaking and waving their spears and shields, hollering the feral cries of war, ready to fight.]
1.4.3 BARBARIANS: “ihr seid verfluchte hunde”
1.4.4 QUINTUS: People should know when they’re conquered.
1.4.5 MAXIMUS: Would you, Quintus? Would I? [Maximus bends down and picks up a handful of dirt, bringing it to his nose to smell. He looks to the side and sees his WOLF OF ROME eagerly watching him, moaning as Maximus studies him. They steady their gaze connecting with each other as they prepare for battle. Maximus rises, and turns to Quintus and Valerius. Shaking Quintus’ hand Maximus says,
1.4.6 “Strength and honour.” Quintus then turns to Valerius, shaking his hand, they exchange, “Strength and honour.”
1.4.7 MAXIMUS [As he mounts his horse he looks to Quintus]: At my signal, unleash hell.
[Maximus rides off. His wolf breaks free from the handler, charging after Maximus, running along side the horse as Maximus passes the soldiers who stand as he approaches. In the distance, Marcus continues his watch over the battlefield.]
1.4.8 QUINTUS: Load the catapults; infantry form up for advance…archers ready.
1.4.9 CHIEF ARCHER: Archers!
1.4.10 CENTURION: Nock!
1.4.11 ARCHER: Nock! [Maximus rides up into the misty forest, streaked with sunlight as it peers through the trees. The clacking and cawing of wild birds are heard throughout the forest. The cavalry await Maximus. With his wolf running closely at his side, Maximus reaches the soldiers and addresses the men….]
1.4.12 MAXIMUS: Fratres…, three weeks from now I will be harvesting my crops, imagine where you will be and it will be so. Hold the lines, stay with me. If you find yourself alone riding in green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled, for you are in Elysium and you’re already dead!!!. [The men laugh. The wolf’s stare remains fixed on Maximus.] Brothers, what we do in life echoes in eternity. [A soldier approaches and hands Maximus his plumed helmet. As Maximus readies for battle, he turns to an archer and nods, giving the signal to “unleash hell”.]
1.4.13 ONAGER CENTURION: Pull, Pull!
1.4.14 SHOUT: Cohorts, ready sir!
1.5 A flaming arrow is shot through the grey sky. On the battlefield, as the soldiers prepare for battle. Quintus positions his helmet on his head as he views the flaming arrow. The battle begins …
1.5.1 1st CENTURION: Archers, ignite!
1.5.2 2nd CENTURION: Ignite!
1.5.3 1st CENTURION: Archers, draw!
1.5.4 ONAGER CENTURION: Loose!
With arm raised, holding sword for all to see, Maximus leads the cavalry forward; their advance increases to a thunderous run, as they move down the hill, through the trees. On the battlefield, Scorpions fire, onagers let loose, flaming arrows and defiant cheers from the mob are heard. The archer battle continues as the cavalry storms down the hill. Black smoke fills the sky. Fiery clay pots are shot from the catapults, striking the forest where the barbarians wait, setting it ablaze.
Thousands of arrows are heard and seen swooshing towards the German lines. The cavalry is seen as they stretch across the forest. Their speed increases, some riders jump through the fires. Maximus’ wolf is running with the cavalry. Maximus is heard shouting out to his men …
1.5.5 “Hold the line! Hold the line! Stay with me! Stay with me.!”
[III Felix Legion advancing, then tortoise formation, fire continues to explode onto the trees, as the barbarians charge. Maximus’ wolf leaps through a wall of flames. The cavalry reaches the Germans as Maximus cries out
The German barbarians turn to see the thundering cavalry attacking from behind. Swords are flying as they attack each other. Maximus charges at a barbarian, slicing his head off as his sword becomes impaled in a tree. Removing another sword from his saddle, Maximus continues the fight but his horse is felled when a barbarian thrusts a lance in its path causing Maximus to fall hard, into the mud, amongst the soldiers. Maximus looks stunned, but as a German attacks him with his axe, Maximus parries each thrust before lashing out and cutting the German’s legs from under him. The German collapses. Another German charges Maximus, who is still on the ground. Maximus manages to slide past the oncoming sword thrust. He punches the soldier, than stabs him. He climbs to his feet, still stabbing at the wounded German. Maximus starts running, but collides with another legionary. Maximus turns towards the startled legionary, who can only stand there agape as Maximus raises his sword in a feral scream. Maximus recognizes the legionary as one of his own men, and gives him a fierce smile.]
[Scene cuts back to the top of the hill as Marcus continues his steady watch of the battle. And then, back on the battlefield. The barbarian warlord is seen finishing off a legionary, but before he has time to recover, another legionary rushes and stabs him in the side. The barbarian stumbles, but does not fall. Another soldier strikes him from the other side, but he still does not fall. Finally, a soldier strikes him from behind, a vicious thrust from above into his neck. Scene cuts to a centurion who falls from his horse, then back to Maximus. Maximus punches a German twice, before slashing him across the chest with his sword. Maximus hears another German’s scream coming from behind. Startled, he turns to see a barbarian, whose clothes and chain mail are aflame, charging towards him with an axe. Maximus parries the first swing, but goes down. As the barbarian raises his axe for the final swing, Maximus looks back, his eyes growing large as death comes close. A charging cavalryman rushes by with a timely swing of his sword, and the barbarian falls, saving Maximus from death. Another barbarian sees Maximus and charges, but only to be stopped in midswing by the WOLF OF ROME, who leaps at him, biting his hand and fending him off of Maximus. It is a chaotic scene of soldiers running, wrestling with each other. We hear horses crying as they struggle within the chaos of the battle. We hear the clashing of metal as blade hits blade and bone. We hear the wolf’s growls in the background as he continues his attack on the enemy. We see Maximus and other soldiers stabbing, fighting feverishly. The sucking sound of mud can be heard as they struggle to keep their balance on the muddy ground of the battle. Wide cut to a scene with dozens of soldiers fighting, with two standards of the Felix Legion thrust into the ground. We see one particular scene where a legionary kneels after stabbing a German, but himself falls as a German swings a sword at him. Back to Maximus stabbing a soldier, then looking around, breathless, but looking for more enemies.]
[We see a scene where a cavalryman falls from his horse, dead, and unhelmed. Another scene with a legionary, crying. Maximus and another legionary gathering themselves between the standards. The brutal battle is over, with legionaries wandering, slaying wounded Germans. The heavy breathing of Maximus can be heard as he raises his sword and cries out, “Roma Victor!” Other legionaries raise their swords and cheer. Maximus stands amongst the dead and wounded, the remaining Roman soldiers at his side, as he raises his sword and, exhausted, again cries out for all to hear….]
1.5.7 MAXIMUS: Roma victor!
1.5.8 CENTURION: Roma victor!
2 Commodo and Lucilla in Germania
2.1 Roadway, guarded armoured wagon, adorned with flags, is slowly moving along. Inside, Commodus and Lucilla, as they make their way to their father, Marcus Aurelius
2.1.1 COMMODUS: Do you think he’s really dying?
2.1.2 LUCILLA: He’s been dying for ten years.
2.1.3 COMMODUS: If he weren’t really dying he wouldn’t have sent for us.
2.1.4 LUCILLA: Maybe he just misses us.
2.1.5 COMMODUS: And the Senators…he wouldn’t have summoned them if….
2.1.6 LUCILLA: Peace, Commodus. After two weeks on the road your incessant scheming is hurting my head.
2.1.7 COMMODUS: He’s made his decision, he’s going to announce it! He will name me …. The first thing I shall do … when … is honour him with games worthy of his majesty.
2.1.8 LUCILLA: For now, the first thing I shall do is have a hot bath.
2.1.9 [There is a knock on the wagon as it comes to a halt. An unseen attendant calls out – “Your Highness”. Commodus steps out.][An attendant announces, “We look to be almost there, Sire,” while a battle weary soldier approaches the wagon bowing and addressing Commodus , “Sire”.]
2.1.10 COMMODUS [asks the soldier]: Where’s the Emperor?
2.1.11 SOLDIER: At the front, Sire. They’ve been gone for 19 days. The wounded are still coming in.
2.1.12 [Without a word to the weary soldier, Commodus calls to the guard – “My horse!” Commodus mounts his horse, looks back at Lucilla and hesitantly asks – “Kiss?” to which she kisses her hand, tossing it his way.]
2.2 Back to the battlefield where the snow continues to fall and the cold wind blows through the trees and the bones of the men. Maximus, depleted from the battle, a cut to his check and bridge of the nose, dirtied with mud and splattered with the blood of the enemy, has found his sword impaled in the tree during battle. He removes the sword and as he turns, Marcus walks up amidst the soldiers who stand and bow in his honour. Marcus walks to Maximus who bows as Marcus approaches
2.2.1 MARCUS: You have proved your valour yet again, Maximus. Let us hope, for the last time.
2.2.2 MAXIMUS: There is no one left to fight, Sire.
2.2.3 MARCUS: There is always someone left to fight. How can I reward Rome’s greatest General?
[The battle weary Maximus, body drained from the exertion of the battle, thinks momentarily and simply replies.]
2.2.4 MAXIMUS: Let me go home?
2.2.5 MARCUS: Ahh. Home.
[Marcus and Maximus, walk together through the debris of the battle, amidst the soldiers who are cheering as they pass. The wind and snow continue to blow and rustles through the trees. Birds overhead can be heard cawing.]
2.2.6 MAXIMUS: They honour you, Caesar.
2.2.7 MARCUS: It is you, Maximus. They honour you.
2.3 Maximus stops momentarily and triumphantly raises his sword overhead. The army cheers even loader. In the distance, Commodus, and his guards, on horseback witness Maximus with his father, hears the cheers and quickly races down to them.
2.3.1 COMMODUS: [Quickly dismounting his horse, he approaches Marcus.] Have I missed it? Have I missed the battle?
2.3.2 MARCUS: You have missed the war.
2.3.3 COMMODUS: Congratulations. I shall sacrifice 100 bulls to honour your triumph.
2.3.4 MARCUS: Save the bulls, honour Maximus. He won the battle.
2.3.5 COMMODUS: General.
2.3.6 MAXIMUS: Highness.
2.3.7 COMMODUS: Rome salutes you and I embrace you as a brother. It has been too long my old friend.
2.3.8 MAXIMUS: Highness. [Maximus with head bowed. Commodus turns to his father.]
2.3.9 COMMODUS: Here, father, take my arm.
2.3.10 MARCUS: I think it is time…for me to leave. [Commodus appears embarrassed that his father would not accept his help, and looks at Maximus with envy and scorn. Marcus mounts his horse and Maximus quickly hands his sword to Quintus to assist Marcus in settling onto his horse.]
2.3.11 MARCUS [to Maximus]: So much for the glory of Rome. [And Marcus Leaves….]
2.4 Tent where party is taking place. The festive musical sounds of drums and flutes can be heard as laughter and talk fill the air. Maximus enters and washes his hands in a bowl of water filled with red fragrant flowers. The water has been stained with their color and unwittingly serve as a reminder of the blood of the battle.
2.4.1 Two soldiers exchange talk, “Well, it was three of our legions against four thousand of them.” Maximus pauses as he looks at his hands, perhaps from the reminder of the battle or the talk of the men, and then proceeds into the tent. He looks into the crowd and sees Marcus and Commodus within but he moves toward Quintus and Valerius….]
2.4.2 MAXIMUS: General! Still alive? [They fondly embrace, Max cupping the back of Quintus’ head.]
2.4.3 QUINTUS: Still alive.
2.4.4 MAXIMUS: The gods must have a sense of humour.
2.4.5 QUINTUS: The gods must love you. [Maximus greets Valerius who responds.]
2.4.6 VALERIUS: Back to your barracks, General, or to Rome?
2.4.7 MAXIMUS: Home. The wife, the son, the harvest.
2.4.8 QUINTUS: Maximus the farmer. I still have difficulty imagining that.
2.4.9 MAXIMUS: You know, dirt cleans off a lot easier than blood, Quintus.
2.4.10 COMMODUS: [As he approaches Maximus,] Here he is.
2.4.11 MAXIMUS: Highness.
2.4.12 COMMODUS: [Making introductions,] Senator Gaius, Senator Falco. Beware of Gaius, he will pour honeyed potion in your ear and you will wake up one day and all you’ll say is Republic! Republic! Republic!
2.4.13 GAIUS: Well, why not? Rome WAS founded as a Republic.
2.4.14 COMMODUS: Yes and in a republic, the senate has the power. But Senator Gaius is not influenced by that, of course.
2.4.15 FALCO: Where do you stand General? Emperor or Senate?
2.4.16 MAXIMUS: A soldier has the advantage of being able to look his enemy in the eye, Senator.
2.4.17 GAIUS: But, with an army behind you, you could be extremely political.
2.4.18 COMMODUS: I warned you, but I shall save you. Senators. [He pulls Maximus away, who glances back uncomfortably at Quintus and Valerius, and they leave the Senators. Commodus continues his conversation with Maximus.] I’m going to need good men like you.
2.4.19 MAXIMUS: [Cautiously asking,] How may I be of service, Highness?
2.4.20 COMMODUS: You are a man who knows what it is to command. You give your orders, the orders are obeyed, and the battle is won. But these senators, they scheme and squabble and flatter and deceive. Maximus we must save Rome from the politicians. [Glancing over to Marcus and back to Maximus.] Can I count on you, when the time comes?
2.4.21 MAXIMUS: [Following Commodus’ glance, he looks at Marcus and back to Commodus.] Highness, when your father releases me I intend to return home.
2.4.22 COMMODUS: Home, well no one has earned it more. Don’t get too comfortable – I may call on you before long. Lucilla is here – did you know? [A look of concern over Commodus’ remarks about future service, followed with surprise about Lucilla overcome Maximus as Commodus continues….] She has not forgotten you. And now you are the great man.
2.5 Lucilla and her maid are seen peering out from their tent to where Commodus and Maximus talk. Eyeing Maximus, Lucilla murmurs “Maximus”. Marcus enters the tent and they quickly stop when he catches their attention.
2.5.1 MARCUS: If only you had been born a man. What a Caesar you would have made.
2.5.2 LUCILLA: Father [as she walks to him and kisses each cheek].
2.5.3 MARCUS: You would have been strong. I wonder, would you have been just.
2.5.4 LUCILLA: I would have been what you taught me to be.
2.5.5 MARCUS: Oh. How was your journey? [They walk, arm in arm.]
2.5.6 LUCILLA: Long – uncomfortable. Why have I come?
2.5.7 MARCUS: I need your help…with your brother.
2.5.8 LUCILLA: Of course.
2.5.9 MARCUS: He loves you, he always has and … he will need you now, more than ever. [A contemplative pause by Marcus as he says,] Enough of politics. [They continue as they walk arm in arm….] Let us pretend that you are a loving daughter and I am a good father.
2.5.10 LUCILLA: This is a pleasant fiction, isn’t it?
2.6 In Marcus’s tent where Marcus sits hunched over his desk, writing on a tablet. Maximus enters and Marcus does not look up
2.6.1 MAXIMUS: You sent for me Caesar? [Receiving no response, Maximus slightly turns and leans toward the weak and old Marcus.] Caesar?
2.6.2 MARCUS: Tell me again Maximus, why are we here?
2.6.3 MAXIMUS: For the glory of the empire, Sire.
2.6.4 MARCUS: Ah yes, ah yes. [Straightening up from the desk.] I remember. You see that map, Maximus? That is the world which I created. For 25 years, I have conquered, spilt blood, expanded the empire. Since I became Caesar I have known 4 years without war – 4 years of peace in 20. And for what? [He rises.] I brought the sword, nothing more. [As the two talk, the sounds from outside can be heard — the wind howling against the tent, horses whinny and dogs bark and from inside, the tent creaks as it strains against the wind.]
2.6.5 MAXIMUS: [With a deep swallow,] Caesar, your life…
2.6.6 MARCUS: Please, please don’t call me that. Come, please, come sit. Let us talk, together now. Very simply, as men. Well, Maximus, talk.
2.6.7 MAXIMUS [sternly replies]: 5,000 of my men are out there in the freezing mud. 3,000 of them are bloodied and cleaved. 2,000 will never leave this place. I will not believe that they fought and died for nothing.
2.6.8 MARCUS: And what would you believe?
2.6.9 MAXIMUS: They fought for YOU and for Rome.
2.6.10 MARCUS: And what is Rome, Maximus?
2.6.11 MAXIMUS: I have seen much of the rest of the world. It is brutal and cruel and dark. Rome is the light.
2.6.12 MARCUS: Yet you have never been there. You have not seen what it has become. I am dying, Maximus. When a man sees his end he wants to know that there has been some purpose to his life. How will the world speak my name in years to come? Will I be known as the philosopher, the warrior, the tyrant. Or will I be the Emperor who gave Rome back her true self? There was once a dream that was Rome, you could only whisper it. [With a snap of his finger.] Anything more than a whisper and it would vanish. It was so fragile and I fear that it will not survive the winter.
2.6.13 MARCUS: Maximus, let us whisper now. Together, you and I. You have a son? [Maximus nods.] Tell me about your home. [Maximus looks surprised at the invitation to hear of his home, but eagerly and proudly describes it — a peaceful happiness overcomes him as he speaks.]
2.6.14 MAXIMUS: My house is in the hills above Emerita Augusta. A very simple place … pink stones that warm in the sun … kitchen garden that smells of herbs in the day … jasmine in the evening. Through the gate is a giant poplar. [His voice accelerates with the joy of the memory.] Figs, apples, pears. The soil, Marcus, black … black like my wife’s hair. [Marcus warmly laughs with Maximus] Grapes on the south slopes, olives on the north. Wild ponies play near my house, they tease my son. [He rubs his knee in the excitement as he talks.] He wants to be one of them.
2.6.15 MARCUS: [Smiling at Maximus as he listens to him describe his home.] Maximus, when was the last time you were home?
2.6.16 MAXIMUS: 2 years, 264 days and this morning.
2.6.17 MARCUS: I envy you, Maximus. It is a good home. Worth fighting for? [Maximus nods yes and Marcus rises.] There is one more duty that I ask of you before you go home. [Maximus quickly rises, the soldier that he is; respectfully, to attention, hands clasped at his back, ready to accept his assignment.]
2.6.18 MAXIMUS: What will you have me do, Caesar?
2.6.19 MARCUS: I want you to become the protector of Rome after I die. I will empower you, to one end alone, to give power back to the people of Rome and end the corruption that has crippled it. [Shock and bewilderment overcome Maximus. His deep breathing can be heard. Receiving no response, Marcus continues.] Will you accept this great honour that I have offered?
2.6.20 MAXIMUS: With all my heart, no.
2.6.21 MARCUS: [Tenderly holding Maximus’ head with both hands]: Maximus, that is why it must be you.
2.6.22 MAXIMUS: But surely a prefect, a senator, somebody who knows the city, who understands her politics….
2.6.23 MARCUS: But you have not been corrupted by her politics. [He moves away as he pats Maximus’ shoulder.]
2.6.24 MAXIMUS [Hesitatingly asks]: And Commodus?
2.6.25 MARCUS: Commodus is not a moral man, you have known that since you were young. Commodus cannot rule. He must not rule. You are the son that I should have had. Commodus will accept my decision. He knows that you command the loyalty of the army.
2.6.26 MAXIMUS [Nearly speechless]: I need some time, Sire.
2.6.27 MARCUS: Yes. By sunset, I hope, you will have agreed. Now embrace me as my son and bring an old man another blanket.
3 Germania Death of Marcus Aurelis and planned execution of Maximus
3.1 As Maximus leaves Marcus’ tent he hesitates outside, with a troubled look upon his face. Lucilla steps out from the adjacent tent. She appears to have been waiting for him. In the background can be heard the sounds of anvils clanging as weapons and saddlery are repaired, dogs barking and horses neighing and the cry of a hawk overhead
3.1.1 LUCILLA: My father favours you now.
3.1.2 MAXIMUS: M’lady.
3.1.3 LUCILLA: T’was not always so.
3.1.4 MAXIMUS: Many things change.
3.1.5 LUCILLA: Many things, not everything. [Maximus turns to leave.] Maximus, stop. Let me see your face. You seem upset.
3.1.6 MAXIMUS: I lost many men.
3.1.7 LUCILLA: What did my father want with you?
3.1.8 MAXIMUS: To wish me well before I leave for home. [Again, he turns to leave.]
3.1.9 LUCILLA: You are lying. I could always tell when you were lying because you were never any good at it. [Maximus looks back at her sharply and approaches.]
3.1.10 MAXIMUS: I never acquired your comfort with it.
3.1.11 LUCILLA: True. But then you never had to. Life is more simple for a soldier. Or do you think me heartless?
3.1.12 MAXIMUS: I think you have a talent for survival. [Again, he turns to leave. Lucilla laughs, wanting to prolong their time together.]
3.1.13 LUCILLA: Maximus, stop. Is it really so terrible seeing me again?
3.1.14 MAXIMUS: No. I am tired from battle.
3.1.15 LUCILLA: It hurts you to see my father so fragile. [Maximus nods.]
3.1.16 LUCILLA: Commodus expects my father to announce succession within days. Will you serve my brother as you have served my father?
3.1.17 MAXIMUS: I will always serve Rome.
3.1.18 LUCILLA: You know, I still remember you in my prayers. Oh, yes I pray.
3.1.19 MAXIMUS: I was sad to hear of your husband’s death. I mourned him.
3.1.20 LUCILLA: Thank you.
3.1.21 MAXIMUS: And I hear you have a son.
3.1.22 LUCILLA: Yes, Lucius. He will be nearly 8 years old.
3.1.23 MAXIMUS: My son is also nearly 8. [Again, a moment of peace overcomes him as he speaks of his family.] I thank you for your prayers. [Maximus leaves Lucilla as she stands alone, looking after him.]
3.2 Maximus returns to his tent. His servant and friend, Cicero, is preparing a drink for Maximus. Maximus prays as he kneels in front of the shrine of his Ancestors and wife and son. The image of his wife can be seen – a statuesque, beautiful woman with kind eyes, long black hair, and dressed simply, in a peasant frock as their boy runs off in play.
3.2.1 MAXIMUS: Ancestors, I ask you for your guidance. Blessed Mother, come to me with the Gods’ desire for my future. Blessed Father, watch over my wife and my son with a ready sword. Whisper to them that I live only to hold them again. Ancestors, I honour you and will try to live with the dignity you have taught me. [Maximus tenderly and longingly kisses the figurine of his wife, stroking the back of the head. Setting it down, he stands and moves to sit on a chair as he calls to, Cicero. Cicero approaches, handing the drink to Maximus. The howl of a dog can be heard outside.]
3.2.2 MAXIMUS: Cicero. Do you find it hard to do your duty?
3.2.3 CICERO: Sometimes I do what I want to do, the rest of the time I do what I have to.
3.2.4 MAXIMUS [rubbing his beard]: We may not be able to go home after all.
3.3 Commodus has entered Marcus’ tent, a tent adorned with statues and busts of the Caesars. Gazing at the statue of his father, Commodus reaches up and touches its face as Marcus enters from behind him
3.3.1 MARCUS: Are you ready to do your duty for Rome?
3.3.2 COMMODUS [with a slight smile on his face]: Yes, father.
3.3.3 MARCUS: You will not be Emperor.
3.3.4 COMMODUS [the smile quickly vanishes leaving in its place painful bewilderment]: Which wiser, older man is to take my place?
3.3.5 MARCUS: My powers will pass to Maximus to hold in trust until the Senate is ready to rule once more. Rome is to be a Republic again.
3.3.6 COMMODUS: Maximus? [Marcus moves his hand to touch Commodus’ face and Commodus pulls away.]
3.3.7 MARCUS: My decision disappoints you?
3.3.8 COMMODUS: You wrote to me once, listing the four chief virtues — wisdom, justice, fortitude, and temperance. As I read the list I knew I had none of them. But I have other virtues, Father — ambition, that can be a virtue when it drives us to excel; resourcefulness; courage, perhaps not on the battlefield but there are many forms of courage; devotion, to my family, to you. But none of my virtues were on your list. Even then it was as if you didn’t want me for your son.
3.3.9 MARCUS: [Surprised at Commodus’ reaction, Marcus sits]: Oh, Commodus, you go too far.
3.3.10 COMMODUS: [In anguish and tears from the disappointment of Marcus’ decision] I searched the faces of the gods for ways to please you, to make you proud…. One kind word, one full hug while you pressed me to your chest and held me tight, would have been like the sun on my heart for a thousand years…. What is it in me you hate so much? All I ever wanted was to live up to you, Caesar, Father.
3.3.11 MARCUS: Commodus, [holding his fingers to his lips, “shhhhh”; he kneels in front of his son] your faults as a son, is my failure as a father. [He stretches his arms out to Commodus, seeking forgiveness. Commodus slowly embraces him, together they weep]
3.3.12 COMMODUS: Father, I would butcher the whole world if you would only love me!!! [Marcus still kneeling, Commodus presses his father tightly against his body, smothering him, as Marcus struggles to be free, but fails. All the while, Commodus cries and moans in pain, as though a child.]
3.4 Maximus is sleeping on his cot. The howl of a dog can be heard from outside. Quintus quietly enters to wake Maximus who quickly brandishes a knife, smiling with a hint of embarrassment when he sees it is Quintus
3.4.1 QUINTUS: Maximus. The Emperor needs you. It is urgent. [Together they return to Marcus’ tent. As Maximus reaches the tent, the tarp is pulled back and there stands Commodus.]
3.4.2 COMMODUS: Lament with me, brother. Our great father is dead.
3.4.3 MAXIMUS: [Looking shocked and untrusting at Commodus, turns to the body of Marcus, placing his hand to Marcus’ forehead and then to the dead Emperor’s throat as though to check for signs of life, and asks,] How did he die?
3.4.4 COMMODUS: The surgeon said there was no pain. His breath gave out as he slept.
3.4.5 MAXIMUS: [Leaning over Marcus, he whispers as he kisses his forehead,] Father.
3.4.6 COMMODUS: Your Emperor asks for your loyalty, Maximus. Take my hand. I only offer it once. [Maximus turns away from the body of Marcus, looks at Lucilla as she sits in the corner, eyes moist with grief. Maximus, looks at Commodus in disbelief, then at his outstretched his hand, looks back at Lucilla and, ignoring Commodus, walks past him and out of the tent. Maximus calls to Quintus as he leaves. Commodus turns to Quintus who looks back with a pained acknowledgment of orders that have already been given. Lucilla steps out from the corner, turns to Commodus, looks into his eyes, and slaps him twice. She then raises his hand to her lips, kissing his ring and proclaims, “Hail Caesar”.]
3.5 In Maximus’ tent as he rushes in, buckling his armour, Cicero assisting him. Maximus hurriedly calling out orders….
3.5.1 LUCILLA: Hail Caesar
3.5.2 MAXIMUS: I must talk to the senators. I need their counsel. Wake Gaius and Falco.
3.5.3 CICERO [acknowledging Maximus’ orders]: Gaius and Falco.
3.5.4 MAXIMUS: Sword!
3.5.5 CICERO: Sword. [Before Cicero can comply Quintus enters the tent.]
3.5.6 QUINTUS: Maximus, please be careful, that was not prudent.
3.5.7 MAXIMUS: Prudent! The Emperor has been slain.
3.5.8 QUINTUS: The Emperor died of natural causes.
3.5.9 MAXIMUS: Quintus, why are you armed?
3.5.10 QUINTUS: Guards! [Four guards quickly enter, spinning Maximus around as they secure him.] Maximus, please don’t fight. [As the guards hold Maximus, Quintus looks away.] I am sorry, Caesar has spoken. [Cicero looks at Maximus as if to hand him his sword but Maximus shakes his head, no. Quintus turns to the guards.]
3.5.11 QUINTUS: Ride until dawn and then execute him.
3.5.12 MAXIMUS: Quintus, look at me. Look at me! Promise me that you will look after my family.
3.5.13 QUINTUS: Your family will meet you in the after life. [Maximus struggles and one of the guards hits him across the back of the head with a sword. Quickly, the vision of his wife and son, his land and home, as he walks through the wheat field, flashes before him.]
3.6 To the snow covered forest where Maximus is about to be executed. The guards are leading Maximus, who is now on foot, through the trees. The forest floor is filled with broken branches, the devastation of the battle, and the bones of skeletons. As Maximus is led by the executioners, he carefully steps over human bones and the debris of battle, his hands still tied in front of him. The guard tells Maximus to “kneel” as he tosses his own helmet to the chief guard. The sounds of wind rustling trees and hawks overhead echo throughout the forest. As the assassin positions himself, Maximus prays within “Blessed Father watch over my wife and son. Whisper to them that I live only to hold them again.” Images of his wife, his son, the wheat field come to him. Maximus asks the chief guard, “At least give me a clean death – a soldier’s death.” The chief guard nods yes and the assassin changes position behind Maximus. As the assassin raises his sword, Maximus leans back and with speed, grabs the sword by its blade, disarming the assassin. He clubs the chief guard with its handle and turns to fatally stab the throat of the assassin with its point. He turns back to the chief guard who is struggling to draw his sword. Maximus, hands still tied, flips his sword catching the handle in his hands. He looks at the guard with a crazed glare, announcing, “The frost. Sometimes it makes the blade stick.” With a roar, Maximus swings the sword at the guard, slicing through his helmet and across his face, instantly killing him. Another guard, on horse, moves forward and turns as a swishing sound is heard. As he turns towards the sound, he becomes impaled by a sword that has been flung by Maximus, striking the guard dead. Maximus turns to the remaining guard who is on horse, drinking from a bottle of whiskey to warm himself from the cold. Maximus bellows out, “Praetorian!” The guard turns to see Maximus standing with a sword. He tosses down the bottle and rides at him. As the guard approaches, Maximus, at the final moment, jumps to the other side causing the guard to change moves and at the same time, he swings his sword at the Praetorian. Maximus stands ready to fight again, but the Praetorian falls from his horse, having been fatally wounded. Maximus has been severely wounded to the arm. Having killed each of the four Praetorian, Maximus takes two horses for his long journey home.] [After a long run, exhausted and under a full moon, Maximus finally comes to a rest. He sits fireside, nursing his wound. His mind races with a mixture of thoughts of his family and of what Marcus earlier asked him…. “When was the last time you were home … 2 years, 264 days and this morning … Blessed father, watch over them with a ready sword … with the dignity you have taught me … whisper to them that I live only to hold them again … my wife and son with a ready sword … for all else is dust and air … whisper that I live only to hold them again … for all else is dust and air.”]
3.6.1 PRETORIANUS: Kneel!
3.6.2 MAXIMUS: Blessed Father watch over my wife and son. Whisper to them that I live only to hold them again At least give me a clean death – a soldier’s death The frost. Sometimes it makes the blade stick Praetorian! When was the last time you were home … 2 years, 264 days and this morning … Blessed father, watch over them with a ready sword … with the dignity you have taught me … whisper to them that I live only to hold them again … my wife and son with a ready sword … for all else is dust and air … whisper that I live only to hold them again … for all else is dust and air.
4 First slave, then Gladiator in Africa
4.1 As Maximus continues his journey home on horseback, only one horse remains. He sits hunched over on the horse, losing consciousness. Maximus has a vision of his home – wheat fields, his son lunging a white pony while his wife watches. Suddenly, the vision changes to one of harm, of the Praetorian riding towards his home. His wife and son hear the horses of the Praetorian as they approach. Maximus’ boy calls out, “Mama, I soldate” (mother, the guards). As the Praetorian get closer, the boy runs towards them, believing the soldiers to be his father, calling “Papa, Papa”. Maximus’ wife runs after their son but the guards do not stop and trample the boy as she looks on helplessly and in shock. Maximus regains full consciousness. The wound on his arm is bleeding freely. Maximus rides hard. His horse is sweaty, breathing loudly and exhausted, as it strains under the run. Nearing his home, black smoke of fires over his home can be seen. His horse, spent, gives out from under him and falls with a thunderous thud, throwing Maximus to the dirt as he groans heavily. The vision was real. Maximus struggles to stand and stumbles the remainder of the way to his home. As he nears the home, he finds burnt bodies, everything destroyed and fields smoking. Charred shrubs rustle in the wind. The only sign of life is that of chickens as they cluck and scatter about. The buzzing sounds of flies can be heard. In the distance, he sees two bodies hanging overhead. As he approaches he can identify the bodies to be of his wife and son. He falls to his knees, crying in disbelief and anguish. He manages to stand and moves closer, tenderly touching his wife’s feet, caressing them as though to comfort her. But the shock is too great. He falls to the ground, passing out from the grief.
A Bedouin troupe come across the scene and find Maximus’ body, lying on top of the two graves of his wife and son. They are heard to say, “Hada mish huy?” (This one’s not alive?) … “Ma adri” (I don’t know.) … “Huy!” (He’s alive!) … “kalbash’hu'” (shackle him) … “Hada mish huy” (this one is still alive).
Only the sandled feet of the Bedouin can are seen. As they move about, the rustling of their clothes and tinkling of bells can be heard as they whisk away the unconscious Maximus. Maximus wakes to find himself on a wagon. He is slipping in and out of consciousness and into the after life. His eyes closed, he is floating along the earth. The images of the wall with pink stones, his home, a white stallion galloping through Elysium and the wheat field flash before him. He is startled as his hand bumps a stone causing him to return to this life, dazed and hallucinating. His visions continue, the pink wall, his hand caressing the tall stalks of wheat, he is chained by the arms, and scenes of the figurines of his wife and son quickly flash across his mind. The soft voice of a Numidian slave (later to be known as Juba), is heard, “You will meet them again, but not yet.” Maximus awakens to find a monkey sitting on his legs and Juba watching over him. He looks at his wound which is infested with maggots and begins to remove them and Juba taps his hand and says, “No, they will clean it. Wait and see.” The caravan carrying the slaves winds it way through the vast desert. Some time later, a lion growls as he awakens and Juba, cautions him, “Don’t die. They will feed you to the lions. They are worth more than we.” [Time passes, Maximus awakens again and looks at his wound, Juba says,] “Better now? Clean. See?” Juba chews a substance and places the poultice on the gaping wound.
4.1.1 You will meet them again, but not yet. No, they will clean it. Wait and see. Don’t die. They will feed you to the lions. They are worth more than we. Better now? Clean. See?
4.2 In Zucchabar, a Roman Province, at the bazaar. Proximo sits at a table sipping from a demitasse, as the Slave Trader approaches to greet him….
4.2.1 SLAVE TRADER: Proximo, my old friend. The day is a great day when you are here. Today is your most fortunate day. [Proximo mistrustingly looks at the slave trader and grabs the trader’s crotch. The trader is startled, and gasps in pain.]
4.2.2 PROXIMO [slowly says]: Those giraffes you sold me, they won’t mate. They just walk around eating, not mating. You sold me queer giraffes. I want my money back.
4.2.3 SLAVE TRADER: Not a chance. [He grunts as Proximo squeezes tighter.] I’ll do special price for you!
4.2.4 PROXIMO: On what?
4.2.5 SLAVE TRADER: Have you seen my new stock? Come and see them. [Proximo is interested. He looks back and releases him with one final squeeze. Together they walk towards the market place.] [SCENE CHANGE – to the market where the slaves await sale.]
4.2.6 PROXIMO: Do any of them fight? I have a match coming up.
4.2.7 SLAVE TRADER: Some are good for fighting, others for dying. You need both, I think.
4.3 To the market where the slaves await sale
4.3.1 PROXIMO: Do any of them fight? I have a match coming up.
4.3.2 SLAVE TRADER: Some are good for fighting, others for dying. You need both, I think.
4.3.3 PROXIMO: [to the Numidian slave] Get up! [Proximo examines him, slapping his body to check his muscles and inspecting his hands, he asks ….]
4.3.4 PROXIMO: What was your trade?
4.3.5 JUBA: I was a hunter.
4.3.6 SLAVE TRADER: No, no, I bought him from a salt mine in Carthage. [The slave trader quickly and nervously tells him to sit down. Proximo continues to inspect the other slaves and approaches Maximus.]
4.3.7 PROXIMO [Maximus sits on the dirt, weak and lifeless, leaning against a pole. Proximo pokes at his gashed arm alongside the SPQR insignia]: The mark of the legion…deserter?
4.3.8 SLAVE TRADER: Maybe so but who cares? He’s a Spaniard.
4.3.9 PROXIMO: I will take 6 for 1,000.
4.3.10 SLAVE TRADER: 1,000?! The Numidian alone is worth 2,000!
4.3.11 PROXIMO [Moves away from the slaves, pushing Maximus’ head forward as he passes.]: These slaves are rotten!
4.3.12 SLAVE TRADER: It adds to the flavour! [Proximo begins to walk away.]
4.3.13 SLAVE TRADER: No, no, wait, wait, wait! We can negotiate.
4.3.14 PROXIMO: I’ll give you 2,000 and 4 for the beasts. That’s 5,000 for an old friend.
4.4 Proximo sits on a cart drawn by white asses and impatiently orders his entourage to hurry. Closely following is a wagon carrying the newly purchased slaves.
4.4.1 PROXIMO: Come on, how long does it take to get into my own house? [The slaves are trotted into the grounds of Proximo’s home, where they stand as Proximo addresses them. As they stand, they are dusted with lime for pests and disease. In the background, a lion is seen in a cage as it is being fed human body parts, while vultures tear at the remains of a pile of corpses. Other slaves are exercising their skills as one is seen getting impaled with an arrow.]
4.4.2 PROXIMO: I am Proximo. I shall be closer to you for the next few days, which will be the last of your miserable lives, than that bitch of a mother that brought you screaming into this world. I did not pay good money for you for your company, I paid it so that I could profit from your death and as your mother was there at your beginning, so I shall be there at your end. And when you die, and die you shall, your transition shall be to the sound of [he claps his hands in applause] …Gladiators, I salute you.
4.5 Training at Proximo’s camp as each slave goes up for a test of skill. Proximo sits surrounded by flamingos and other exotic birds, and can be heard calling out “Red” … “Yellow”. The next fighter is Juba who picks up the wooden sword given to them for their testing and fiercely fights back as Hagen tests him.
4.5.2 HAGEN: [Impressed with the new slave, responds,] Good.
4.5.3 PROXIMO: Red [Juba proudly looks at Hagen with honour at having ranked red.]
4.5.4 HAGEN: Spaniard! [As he sits cross legged, leaning against a wall, Maximus curiously looks at Hagen, walks up, takes the wooden sword and calmly tosses it to the ground –Maximus refuses to fight. Hagen looks to Proximo who nods with approval and Hagen slams his sword into Maximus’ stomach causing Maximus to collapse, but Maximus stands back up in defiance. Hagen hits him a second time and Maximus falls to the ground. Proximo, puzzled at Maximus’ actions, stops Hagen as he is about to make the third blow, calling out “That is enough for the moment. His time will come.” Maximus looks at Hagen with a slight grin and turns and walks away.]
4.5.5 HAGEN: [Looking back curiously at Maximus, continues the testing,] Next. [SCENE CHANGE – where the slaves are housed, Juba crouches at the doorway, looks in at Maximus, the “Spaniard”, and asks … ]
4.5.6 JUBA: Spaniard, why don’t you fight? We all have to fight. [Maximus looks at Juba, as he continues to scrape the mark of the Legion (SPQR) from his arm with a sharp stone. The pain of his efforts clearly read in his expression. Juba moves in closer]
4.5.7 JUBA: Is that a sign of your gods? [Maximus nods, with a slight sense of humour at the question.]
JUBA: Will that not anger them? [Maximus nods again, his smile very wry as he continues to painfully scrape the insignia from his flesh.]
4.6 At Zucchabar as crowds gather at the arena, camels carrying loads of merchandise to the bizaar and people to the fights while dogs run about, barking. Vultures circle overhead. Banners fly above the arena flapping in the wind. The slaves, shackled together to a pole, walk through the market place where, on this day, dyed red yarn hangs overhead, dripping onto the slaves as they make their way to the arena. A white bull is seen with red dye poured along its back. Proximo walks under a large umbrella, to protect himself from the dripping dye.
4.6.1 HAGEN [to Maximus] : The gods favour you. Red is the gods’ colour. You will need their help today. [At the arena, under the bleachers, the slaves listen to Proximo. Above, the crowd can be heard as they stamp their feet, cheering. Dust seeps through the boards of the arena, into the cells. Proximo gives the gladiators a talk of encouragement (after all, they are there to make him money) before they go out for their first fight.
4.6.2 PROXIMO: “Some of you are thinking you won’t fight, some that you can’t fight. They all say that until they are out there. Thrust this into another man’s flesh” demonstrating with a sword “and they will applaud and love you for that. You…you may begin to love them for that.” He slams the blade into the table. “Ultimately, we’re all dead men, sadly we cannot choose how, BUT we can decide how we meet that end in order that we are remembered as men.”.
[Maximus listens closely. Proximo’s words are reminiscent of Marcus’ words following the battle at Germania. “When a man sees his end he wants to know that there has been some purpose to his life. How will the world speak my name….” With that, Maximus bends down and picks up a handful of dirt, rubbing it between his hands. He has decided to fight. They are paired off – red with yellow. Maximus is paired with Juba. Hagen is paired with a frail and frightened slave. Standing in the dark gateway before they enter the arena, the frightened slave in front of Maximus loses control from fear and relieves himself down his leg. Maximus views this and steps back. Hagen is seen closing his eyes, perhaps in prayer before he enters.]
[The door to the arena is thrown open, blinding the slaves as the sun bursts in. The first fighter (with spiked hair) immediately runs face first into the morning star which is swung by one of the armoured opponents. Blood splatters everywhere. The fighters pan out and everyone runs into the arena. Proximo runs to the edge of the arena to look down onto his fighters–sizing them up for skill. Juba starts to follow an opponent but Maximus quickly takes control of the fight, pulling Juba back. Maximus takes the sword from one opponent before killing him with his shield. Meanwhile, Hagen is with the frightened slave who is screaming in fear and crouching down while Hagen fights. Then the opponent thrusts his sword into the frightened slave, who falls down dead. Hagen strikes the opponent and, needing to be free from the corpse, cuts away the chained hand of the dead slave and uses it to swing as a weapon.]
[As the fights continue, Hagen is fiercely punching an opponent and then lifts and plants him on the horns which adorn the arena. Maximus fights with his shield, Juba with a sword. Together they fight as one. The shadows on the arena grow larger as the sun lowers. The deafening cheers of the crowd are never ending. When the final opponent is reached, Juba, is standing behind Maximus with his hand on Maximus’ shoulder.
The muscular opponent, heavily masked and carrying a trident, stands fiercely against Maximus and Juba. Maximus turns the trident back into the opponent and together, Maximus and Juba spear him in the gut. The opponent withdraws the trident from his own body and goes back on the attack. Maximus and Juba, working as one, run at the opponent, using the chain that joins them to cut him at the throat, knocking him to the ground. Maximus, Juba, and Hagen, having survived the fight, stand exhausted in the arena while the crowd roars.]
5 Commodo returns to Rome and announces the Games
5.1 A grand view of Rome as seen from the steps of the Senate. The Roman troops have formed along the streets, people are cheering (yet there is a small faction seen angrily yelling in dispute), the petals of flowers drift through the air in celebration of the new Caesar. The senators stand at the steps of the Senate, waiting, Lucius at their side, as the new Caesar and Lucilla enter the plaza on chariot surrounded by horse mounted Praetorian.
5.1.1 GRACCHUS: He enters Rome like a conquering hero. But what has he conquered?
5.1.2 FALCO: Give him time. He’s young. I think he could do very well.
5.1.3 GRACCHUS: For Rome or for you?
5.1.4 GRACCHUS: Go to your mother, Lucius. It’s what she would like.[On the steps, children with bouquets of flowers rise as the new Caesar approaches. They honour him with the flowers, calling out his name, “Caesar”. Commodus accepts the gifts, and in turn, hands the flowers to the matrons standing by. Lucius runs to greet his mother. ]
5.1.5 LUCIUS: Mother!
5.1.6 LUCILLA: Lucius. [Lucius and Lucilla embrace.]
5.2 In the Senate
5.2.1 COMMODUS: Senators.
5.2.2 FALCO: Rome greets her new Emperor. Your loyal subjects bid you welcome, Highness.
5.2.3 COMMODUS: Thank you, Falco, and for the loyal subjects. I trust they were not too expensive.
5.2.4 GRACCHUS: Rome rejoices in your return, Caesar. There are many matters that require your attention. [SCENE CHANGE – to the Senate where all the senators are gathered. Senator Gracchus is speaking while Commodus, seemingly bored and gaining impatient, sits, twirling the tip of his sword on the marbled floor, the piercing metal sound filling the near quiet room.]
5.2.5 GRACCHUS: Caesar, the Senate has prepared a series of protocols to address the many problems in the city, beginning with basic sanitation for the Greek quarter to combat the plague which is already springing up there. So… [As Gracchus continues with his speech, Commodus interrupts him….]
5.2.6 COMMODUS: Shhhhhh. Don’t you see Gracchus. That’s the very problem, isn’t it. My father spent all his time at study, reading books, learning his philosophy. He spent his twilight hours reading scrolls from the Senate. All the while, the people were forgotten.
5.2.7 GRACCHUS: The Senate is the people, Sire, chosen from the people, to speak for the people.
5.2.8 COMMODUS: I doubt if many people eat so well as you do, Gracchus, or have such splendid mistresses, Gaius. I think I understand my own people.
5.2.9 GRACCHUS: Perhaps Caesar would be so kind as to teach us, out of his own extensive experience. [A slight laughter from the Senators is heard.]
5.2.10 COMMODUS: I call it love. The people are my children and I their father. I shall hold them to my bosom and embrace them tightly….
5.2.11 GRACCHUS [as he interrupts]: Have you ever embraced someone dying of plague, Sire? [Commodus stops. His sword held behind his head with both hands, as though to be resting his head, slowly turns to Gracchus. The creaking sound of Commodus’ leather Lorica segmentata can be heard as he turns. Lucilla, sensing potential danger, rises to intervene. A lethal moment.]
5.2.12 COMMODUS: No. But if you interrupt me again, I assure you that you shall. [He leaves the Senate and returns to the palace.]
5.2.13 LUCILLA: Senator, my brother is very tired. Leave the list with me. Caesar shall do all that Rome requires.
5.2.14 GRACCHUS: My lady, as always your lightest touch commands obedience.
5.3 At the Palace, Lucilla returns from the Senate where she meets Commodus, struggling to remove the baldrik from across his neck that holds his sword. Lucilla assists him
5.3.1 COMMODUS: Who would deign to lecture me?
5.3.2 LUCILLA: Commodus, the senate has its uses.
5.3.3 COMMODUS: What uses? All they do is talk. It should be just … you and me, and Rome.
5.3.4 LUCILLA: Don’t even think it. There has always been a senate….
5.3.5 COMMODUS: [Taking his place on the throne he continues,] Rome has changed. It takes an Emperor to rule an empire.
5.3.6 LUCILLA: Of course, but leave the people their….
5.3.7 COMMODUS: Illusions?.
5.3.8 LUCILLA: …traditions.
5.3.9 COMMODUS: My father’s war against the barbarians, he said it himself it achieved nothing. But people still loved him.
5.3.10 LUCILLA: People always love victories.
5.3.11 COMMODUS: But why? They don’t see the battles? What do they care about Germania?
5.3.12 LUCILLA: They care about the greatness of Rome.
5.3.13 COMMODUS: The greatness of Rome? But what is that?
5.3.14 LUCILLA: It’s an idea, greatness. Greatness is a vision.
5.3.15 COMMODUS: Exactly. A vision. Do you not see, Lucilla? I will give the people a vision of Rome and they will love me for it. They will soon forget the tedious sermonizing of a few dry old men. [He extends his hand to her and with hesitation, she accepts it. Commodus raises her hand to his lips and kisses it.] I will give them the greatest vision of their lives.
5.4 The entire view of the Colosseum can be seen. The scene then changes to Gaius and Gracchus where they meet at a restaurant, discussing the games which Commodus revived to lure the mob. Outside can be seen a juggler, merchants calling out their wares, and the crowd visiting and moving about. The cheering crowd from the colosseum can be heard. Gauis, holding a “Gladiatores Violante” poster, joins Gracchus
5.4.1 GAIUS: Games! 150 days of games!
5.4.2 GRACCHUS: He’s cleverer than I thought.
5.4.3 GAIUS: Clever? The whole of Rome would be laughing at him if they weren’t so afraid of his Praetorian.
5.4.4 GRACCHUS: Fear and wonder. A powerful combination.
5.4.5 GAIUS: Do you really think the people are going to be seduced by that?
5.4.6 GRACCHUS: I think he knows what Rome is. Rome is the mob. He will conjure magic for them and they will be distracted. He will take away their freedom, and still they will roar. The beating heart of Rome is not the marble of the Senate, it is the sand of the Colosseum. He will bring them death, and they will love him for it.
5.5 back at Zucchabar. Inside a case, along the sides, waiting their turn to fight in the arena. Children run along the top of the cage, tossing flower petals onto the Spaniard. “Spaniard, Spaniard, Spaniard” can be heard from the crowds inside and about the arena –Maximus has gained the popularity of the crowd as well as a name for himself–Spaniard. At the end of the cage, sits Maximus, face stern, as he methodically hones the blade of his sword. His time to fight has arrived. Maximus stands and walks through the cage. The gladiators sit up and call out his name, “Spaniard” as as he walks past them, making his way to the arena for his battle. Maximus enters the ring as the chants “Spaniard, Spaniard” continue. When Maximus steps through the door the crowd becomes silent, the opponents step back. Maximus pauses and slightly bows his head. Then he wades into them as the crowd cheers loudly. The opponents each wait to take on Maximus. Hagen comes to the edge of the arena to peer in while, from above, Proximo moves to the edge of the arena so that he can look in at his slave. Without hesitation, Maximus charges forward, machine-like and without emotion, takes on and disposes of each opponent, one at a time. Facing his last opponent, he picks up a sword from the dirt. He approaches and stabs the final opponent with both swords in the chest. Taking a step back, he moves forward again and removes the swords only to take a scissor-cut to the neck as he decapitates the opponent’s head.
Having quickly and soundly defeated his opposition, Maximus looks up at the crowd, bloody swords still in hand. He hurls one sword high into the stands, striking a table, startling all nearby. Then, calling out to the now silenced crowd, Maximus screams at them, “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED??!! ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED??!! Is this not why you are here??” Proximo is seen eyeing the crowd for their reaction. The crowd silenced, Maximus throws the other sword to the ground, spitting in disgust and begins to leave the arena. The crowd cheers uncontrollably. Maximus slows his pace, curiously looking at them in amazement. The crowd continues their cheers, “Spaniard, Spaniard, Spaniard, Spaniard, Spaniard.”
5.5.1 CROWD: “Spaniard, Spaniard, Spaniard”
5.5.2 MAXIMUS: ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED??!! ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED??!! Is this not why you are here??
5.5.3 CROWD: “Spaniard, Spaniard, Spaniard”
5.6 Maximus has been called to Proximo’s quarters. He paces back and forth as Proximo speaks
5.6.1 PROXIMO: What do you want? Hmmmm? Girl? Boy?
5.6.2 MAXIMUS: You sent for me? [He comes to a halt, arms at his side.]
5.6.3 PROXIMO: Yes I did. You are good, Spaniard, but you’re not that good. You could be magnificent.
5.6.4 MAXIMUS: I am required to kill so I kill. That is enough.
5.6.5 PROXIMO: That’s enough for the provinces but not for Rome [as he feeds his caged hyena]. The young Emperor has arranged a series of spectacles to commemorate his father, Marcus Aurelius. I find that amusing since it was Marcus Aurelius, the wise, the all knowing Marcus Aurelius, who closed us down. So finally after 5 years of scratching a living in flea infested villages we are finally going back to where we belong, the Colosseum. [He breaths deeply, excited, as though he could smell the Colosseum.] Oh you should see the Colosseum, Spaniard. 50,000 Romans watching every movement of your sword, willing you to make the killer blow. The silence before you strike, and the noise afterwards, it rises, rises up like…like…like a storm, as if you were the Thunder God himself.
5.6.6 MAXIMUS: You were a gladiator?
5.6.7 PROXIMO: Yes, I was [responding nervously but proudly in the memory of his time gone by].
5.6.8 MAXIMUS: You won your freedom?
5.6.9 PROXIMO: A long time ago the emperor Marcus Aurelius presented me with a Rudius – it’s just a wooden sword, a symbol of your freedom. He touched me on the shoulder, and I was free. [Maximus glances at the wooden sword.]
5.6.10 MAXIMUS: You knew Marcus Aurelius? [Maximus asks loudly, laughing as he speaks, doubting that Proximo could have known such a man.]
5.6.11 PROXIMO: I did not say I knew him. I said he touched me on the shoulder once. [Maximus comes closer to Proximo, lowering his voice as he speaks.]
5.6.12 MAXIMUS: You asked me what I want. I, too, want to stand in front of the Emperor, as you did. [Raising his left eyebrow.]
5.6.13 PROXIMO: Then listen to me. Learn from me. I wasn’t the best because I killed quickly. I was the best because the crowd loved me. Win the crowd and you win your freedom. [As Maximus takes on his new assignment, he stands at attention, hands clasped behind him, as the soldier he was for so many years, but at the mention of freedom, he is indifferent for without his family, what is freedom?]
5.6.14 MAXIMUS: I will win the crowd. I will give them something they have never seen before.
5.6.15 PROXIMO: Haaa! So, Spaniard, we shall go to Rome together and have bloody adventures and the great whore will suckle us until we are fat and happy and can suckle no more. And then, when enough men have died, perhaps you will have your freedom. Here, use this…. [Proximo tosses Maximus a body shield of armour. As Maximus leaves, Proximo turns to look out the window, raising his arms in jubilee.]
5.7 A rooftop, the slaves talk with each other as they look out over the vast desert, under blue skies. Juba and Maximus, alone, together..
5.7.1 JUBA: It is somewhere out there, my country, my home. My wife is preparing food. My daughters carry water from the river. Will I ever see them again. I think not.
5.7.2 MAXIMUS: Do you believe you will see them again when you die?
5.7.3 JUBA: I think so, but then, I will die soon. They will not die for many years. I will have to wait.
5.7.4 MAXIMUS: But you would…wait?
5.7.5 JUBA: Of course.
5.7.6 MAXIMUS: You see, my wife and my son are already waiting for me.
5.7.7 JUBA: You will meet them again. But not yet. [Juba shakes Maximus’ hand as if to assure him that the time will come.] Not yet.
5.7.8 MAXIMUS: Not yet. Not yet.
5.8 Vast view of the sky filled with rolling storm clouds, thunder in the distance. On the road to Rome, the wagon carrying the gladiators rolls along while children laugh as they run through the field to reach the side of the road to witness the caravan. In the distance, Rome and the Colosseum. Gladiators have arrived in Rome for their first time. The wagon travels through the noisy streets until it reaches the gladiator school where it stops and the guard shouts “out!” and opens the wagon gates. The gladiators exit the wagon. As the guards and other gladiators come out to size up the new gladiators, Proximo walks up to the statue of Mars, kissing his hand and then planting the kiss on the foot of the statue. “Good to see you again, old friend…. Bring me fortune.” The gladiators stare in awe at the Colosseum …. a graceful flock of birds fill the sky as they pass across this vision.
5.8.1 GUARD: out!
5.8.2 PROXIMO: Good to see you again, old friend…. Bring me fortune.
5.8.3 JUBA: Did you ever see anything like that before? I didn’t know man could build such things. [Maximus shakes his head no.]
5.8.4 PROXIMO [He walks towards the gladiators, looking at Maximus] : Win the crowd.
5.9 Commodus closely stands over the sleeping Lucius studying him as he sleeps. Lucilla walks up
5.9.1 COMMODUS: He sleeps so well because he is loved.
5.9.2 LUCILLA: Come brother, it is late. [Lucilla and Commodus step away and continue their talk. Commodus leans over his desk.]
5.9.3 COMMODUS: I will make Rome the wonder of the ages. That is what Gracchus and his friends don’t understand. All my desires are splitting my head into pieces.
5.9.4 LUCILLA: [Has mixed a powdered drink.] Commodus, drink this tonic.
5.9.5 COMMODUS: I think the time is almost right? I could announce the dissolution of the senate in celebration to honour our father. Do you think I should…are the people ready?
5.9.6 LUCILLA: I think you need your rest now.
5.9.7 COMMODUS: Will you stay with me?
5.9.8 LUCILLA: Still afraid of the dark, brother?
5.9.9 COMMODUS: Still? Always. Stay with me tonight?
5.9.10 LUCILLA: You know I won’t.
5.9.11 COMMODUS: Then kiss me.
5.9.12 LUCILLA: [She pauses, looking at Commodus and then places her hands on each side of his face, bringing it closer to her lips as she kisses his forehead.] Sleep, brother.
6 Maximus triumphs at the Colosseum
6.1 As gladiators are taken to the Colosseum, they walk through the crowded streets, shackled together. A cacophony of sounds fill the air — the hissing of the fire eater street entertainer, horses whinny, dogs bark, an elephant roars, vendors call out their wares, the crowds surrounding the Colosseum laugh and shout, as the crowd from within the Colosseum cheer. Beautiful prostitutes throw their arms around the gladiators, whispering in their ears as they pass. One prostitute in a red dress and black hair locks onto Maximus, kissing his cheek leaving Maximus with a look of embarrassment and amusement as they continue to walk past them. Outside the Colosseum, crowds are betting and posting their marks on a chalk board. Proximo & Cassius discuss the upcoming fight.
6.1.1 PROXIMO: The Emperor wants battles and I don’t want to sacrifice my best fighters.
6.1.2 CASSIUS: The crowd wants battles so the Emperor gives them battles. You get the battle of Carthage.
6.1.3 PROXIMO: The massacre of Carthage! [As they walk through the crowded room, Proximo calls out “Guten Tag” (how do you do?) as he sees an old acquaintenance and resumes his talk with Cassius.] Why don’t you round up all the beggars and thieves from the prison?
6.1.4 CASSIUS: We’ve done that.
6.1.5 PROXIMO: If you’re going to give away the best gladiators in the empire, then I want double the rates.
6.1.6 CASSIUS: You’ll get your contract rates or you will get your contract canceled. If you don’t like it, then you can crawl back down that shit hole that you came from.
6.2 The Legionnaires of Scipio Africanus battle is in preparation. Young Lucius is walking along the cells where the gladiators are placed on display for the crowd’s inspection. Lucius stops in front of Proximo’s group and motions to Maximus, where he is seated at the back of his cell. With a glint of surprise and curiosity, Maximus rises and moves toward the young boy, placing his hands on the bars, leaning down towards him.
6.2.1 LUCIUS: Gladiator, are you the one they call the Spaniard?
6.2.2 MAXIMUS: Yes.
6.2.3 LUCIUS: They said you were a giant. They said you could crush a man’s skull with one hand.
6.2.4 MAXIMUS: Man’s? No. A boy’s…[as he looks at his hand and responds, teasingly]
6.2.5 LUCIUS: [Eyeing Maximus’ chest armour he asks,] They have good horses in Spain?
6.2.6 MAXIMUS: Some of the best. This is Argento. This is Scato [pointing to each horse]. They were my horses. They were taken from me?.
6.2.7 LUCIUS: I like you, Spaniard. I shall cheer for you.
6.2.8 MAXIMUS: They let you watch the games?
6.2.9 LUCIUS: My uncle says it makes me strong.
6.2.10 MAXIMUS: And what does your father say?
6.2.11 LUCIUS: My father is dead.
6.2.12 SERVANT: Master Lucius, it is time.
6.2.13 LUCIUS: I have to go.
6.2.14 MAXIMUS: Your name is Lucius?
6.2.15 LUCIUS: Lucius Verus. After my father. [Realizing he has come closer to Commodus, Maximus withdraws into the shadows of the corner, his eyes darting through the crowd to see who might be in the there.]
6.3 In the bowels of the Colosseum — sounds of anvils clanging and animals roaring are heard. As one team of gladiators descends on the platform lift, Proximo’s gladiators are selecting helmets and receiving spears. Maximus selects an ominous mask-like helmet that covers his face leaving his eyes to pierce through. The head gladiator calls out instructions before they enter the arena, “When the Emperor enters, raise your weapons, salute him and then speak together. Face the Emperor and don’t turn your back on him. Go and die with honour.” Maximus takes a deep breath as the gladiators trot up the ramp into the arena. The crowd is cheering madly. Trumpets are heard. Sticks are drummed by the musicians, adding to the musical sounds of the Colosseum. The gladiators look up, amazed at the overwhelming size of the arena and crowd. As Commodus and Lucilla enter the Emperor’s box, the crowd calls out, “Caesar, Caesar, Caesar”. The gladiators position themselves in front of Caesar. Maximus’ grip on his spear tightens and opens as he waits the unknown. The gladiators, together, proclaim to Caesar, “We who are about to die, salute you”. Only one gladiator refuses to make such a salute — Maximus.]
6.3.1 GLADIATOR: “When the Emperor enters, raise your weapons, salute him and then speak together. Face the Emperor and don’t turn your back on him. Go and die with honour.“
6.3.2 CROWD: Caesar, Caesar, Caesar!
6.3.3 GLADIATORES: We who are about to die, salute you
6.3.4 CASSIUS [the orator, high in the stands, announces the battle] : On this day we reach back to hallowed antiquity to bring you a recreation of a second Fall of Mighty Carthage. On the barren straits of Zama, there stood the invincible armies of the Barbarian Hannibal. Ferocious mercenaries and warriors from all brute nations bent on merciless destruction conquest. Your Emperor is pleased to give you THE BARBARIAN HORDE! [On the arena floor, Maximus talks to the Gladiators, instructing them.]
6.3.5 MAXIMUS: Anyone here been in the army?
6.3.6 FELLOW-FIGHTER #1: Yes
6.3.7 FELLOW-FIGHTER #2: I served with you in Vindobona.
6.3.8 MAXIMUS: You can help me. Whatever comes out of these gates, we’ve got a better chance of survival if we work together. Do you understand? We stay together, we survive.
[As Maximus talks to the gladiators, Cassius is announcing the battle … “the Emperor is pleased to bring you the LEGIONNAIRES OF SCIPIO AFRICANUS”. The gates burst open as the glorius chariots explode into the arena, one at a time. Leopard skins drape the shoulders of the chariot drivers. Each chariot carries a female warrior in golden armour and golden helmet, armed with bows and wearing swords at their waists. The chariots are driven at great speed as they circle the “Barbarians” who gather in the center of the arena. Proximo is seen coming to a viewing box to watch his gladiators. The Legionnaires start an immediate attack. A chariot crushes one gladiator. Maximus calls to the Barbarians, “Stay close.” One who does not is killed with an arrow. Another who does not is Hagen. An arrow is fired at him and he catches it on his shield. Commodus can be seen and heard in his viewing box, laughing at the brutal attacks. Maximus can be heard commanding the Barbarians as the Legionnaires attack, “Come together…stay close…lock your shields, stay as one …..”]
[The Barbarians group together, kneel and form a circle, backs to each other, their shields locked edge to edge. Maximus stands in the middle of the circle, Juba’s back to Maximus’, guarding each other’s backs. One of the chariots circles ever closer to the locked shields and Maximus shouts “hold … hold … as one.” The chariot rumbles by, brushing against the shields with its bladed wheels – the Barbarians hold firm! Maximus calls out, “Well done”.]
[Still huddled in their circle, another chariot heads towards them and as it nears, Maximus is heard calling out, “Hold … Diamond! Diamond!” The Barbarians nearest the chariot do as ordered, change their positions and the angles of their shields. The chariot’s wheels ride up on the shields, unbalancing the chariot so that it heels over on its side. The Legionnaire is sent flying to the ground as the chariot slides on its side away from the circle. Commodus has a look of surprise and disappointment at the Barbarian’s successful maneuvers.]
[Hagen rushes to the fallen chariot and kicks the Legionnaire who attempts to stand. From another chariot, the Legionnaire shoots Hagen in the calf. Hagen grabs his calf in pain, unaware that a chariot is bearing down on him. From the group, Maximus calls the warning “Hagen!” but he doesn’t hear so Maximus runs at him, knocking him down so that the wheel’s blades pass harmlessly over them. Maximus quickly jumps up and continues the battle while the chariot continues. A Legionnaire is thrown from one chariot as it crashes. As she raises her body in a kneeling position, her body is severed in two, at the waist, by another chariot’s blades.]
[One of the Legionnaires throws her spear and it imbeds in the chest of one of the loner Barbarians. Commodus laughs with glee. Juba throws his spear and kills the driver of one of the chariots. The chariot runs uncontrolled with the Legionnaire frantically scrambling for the fallen reins. The chariot crashes into one of the gated tunnels, tumbling, horse and all, exploding in the violent crash.]
[Another chariot breaks a wheel, losses control and is overturned, rapidly sliding across the sand, crushing its driver as the chariot crashes against the arena wall. Commodus and Lucius run to the edge of the imperial box to view the wreckage. Meanwhile, without hesitation, Maximus continues to call out orders, “This column to the chariot. This column stay with me.” The Barbarians run to the disabled chariot. Maximus and that column cut the chariot horse free and Maximus mounts. During this time, one of the Legionnaires from a crashed chariot is shooting at the group with a weapon that fires multiple arrows. Juba attacks, backhanding the warrior and knocking her to the ground. He kills her with the spike of his helmet. Maximus snatches a spear imbedded in the ground and rides fiercely after one of the remaining chariots. The Legionnaire throws a spear at Maximus who dodges the attack. Maximus throws his spear in return, killing the Legionnaire. He rides hard, passing the chariot, with Maximus in the lead, they move towards the wreckage that has been positioned by the Barbarian column. Maximus and his horse jump the wreckage. His vision obscured by Maximus and his horse, the driver cannot avoid crashing into the wreckage. The Barbarians kill the driver.]
[As Maximus rides past Juba, he calls out, “Maximus” as he tosses one of the Legionnaires’ swords pulled from the wreckage to Maximus. Maximus catches and brandishes the blade and rides away.] [Maximus is shown at the main gate to the arena on horseback. The last two chariots are lined up coming directly toward him. He points with his sword to his right and commands, “Single column!” He points with his sword to his left and commands, “Single column!”. The Barbarians go to the outside of each chariot, the right and left respectively and begin to engage the chariots’ occupants. Maximus roars as he charges down the middle. He beheads the Legionnaire on his right with a sweeping blow. With a backhand blow, he beheads the Legionnaire on his left. Juba and Hagen drag the drivers out of their chariots and kill them with their own swords. Proximo is shown, thrilled at the win of his gladiators.]
6.3.9 CASSIUS: the Emperor is pleased to bring you the LEGIONNAIRES OF SCIPIO AFRICANUS
6.3.10 MAXIMUS: Stay close Come together…stay close…lock your shields, stay as one … hold … hold … as one Well done .. Hold … Diamond! Diamond! Hagen! This column to the chariot. This column stay with me
6.3.11 JUBA: Maximus
6.3.12 MAXIMUS: Single column! Single column!
6.4 Having won the battle, Maximus is shown in triumph, again in front of the main gate, as his beautiful white horse pirouettes into position. Maximus raises his sword in victory as the cheers from the Barbarians and crowd explode. Juba’s victorious cheer is heard. Maximus rides forward and tosses back with a flip, his sword, snatching up a spear imbedded in the ground. He rides toward the imperial box and stops in front of it. Maximus raises the spear to shoulder height. His hand grips and relaxes on the handle of the spear as he appears to be looking for the opportunity to kill Commodus but the aim is not clear. Commodus is seen talking to Cassius.
6.4.1 COMMODUS: My history’s a little hazy Cassius, but shouldn’t the Barbarians lose the battle of Carthage??!!
6.4.2 CASSIUS: Yes, Sire. Forgive me, Sire.
6.4.3 COMMODUS: No, I rather enjoy surprises. Who is he?
6.4.4 CASSIUS: They call him the Spaniard, Sire.
6.4.5 COMMODUS: I think I’ll meet him.
6.4.6 CASSIUS: Yes, Sire. [Disappointed that he cannot kill Commodus with his spear, he tosses the spear away, dismounts and joins the gladiators. Praetorian enter the arena. Not understanding why the guards enter, the gladiators stand ready to defend themselves.]
6.4.7 CHIEF PRAETORIAN: Drop your weapons. [Maximus nods to the gladiators and they drop their weapons.]
6.4.8 PRAETORIAN: Gladiator, the Emperor has asked for you.
6.4.9 MAXIMUS: I’m at the Emperor’s service. [Commodus enters the arena. Maximus eyes an arrow in the dirt amongst the bloodied debris and kneels to pick it up. The gladiators follow Maximus’ action and also kneel as Commodus approaches, instructing the gladiators to “Rise, rise.” Lucius enters behind Commodus and Maximus looks disappointed. He does not want to attempt an attack on Commodus with the boy so close.]
6.4.10 PRETORIAN: Rise! Rise
6.4.11 COMMODUS: Your fame is well deserved, Spaniard. I don’t think there has ever been a gladiator to match you. As for this young man [Commodus cradling Lucius in front of him], he insists you are Hector reborn, or was it Hercules. Why doesn’t the hero reveal himself and tell us all your real name. You do have a name…?
6.4.12 MAXIMUS: My name is gladiator. [Maximus slowly turns away from Commodus and begins to walk back to the other gladiators.]
6.4.13 COMMODUS: How dare you show your back to me. SLAVE! You will remove your helmet and tell me your name… [The Praetorian take a ready-stand, and the gladiators, without weapons, move forward ready to fight with Maximus. Maximus stops, takes a deep breath, removes his helmet, and turns to face Commodus.]
6.4.14 MAXIMUS: My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius. Commander of the armies of the North, general of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true emperor Marcus Aurelius, father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife, and I will have my vengeance in this life or the next.
6.5 Commodus is clearly in shock and without words. Quintus stands ready. Commodus stumbles in his actions, slightly turning to Quintus as though seeking help. Quintus orders “Arms” and the Praetorian pull their swords. Meanwhile, at Caesar’s box, Lucilla has risen to her feet in disbelief at the sight of Maximus, relieved that he is still alive.
6.5.1 QUINTUS: Arms..!
6.5.2 CROWD: Live, Live, Live, Live…!
6.5.3 COMMODUS: Shhh! [–in an effort to calm the crowd. Commodus raises his hand, struggling to give the thumbs up for he would much prefer to give the thumbs down. Extending his thumb up, to the pleasure and cheers of the crowd, Commodus turns and leaves, sending a look to Maximus as though to say, this is not over. The Praetorian leave, as well. Maximus looks at Quintus, holds his fist to his heart and slightly bows his head, acknowledging an old friend, an old soldier. Quintus stares back and slowly backs away from Maximus.] [As he’s done in all his victories, Maximus extends his arm up over his head, raising his helmet to the roaring cheers of the gladiators and the crowd. Maximus and the other gladiators leave the arena to be returned to the underground cells. They are lowered on the platform as the other gladiators salute with cheers the winning “Barbarians”, and in particular, Maximus. Their shouts of
6.5.4 “Maximus, Maximus, Maximus” cause the deafening cheers to echo throughout. Maximus stands in the midst of all the gladiators who triumphantly fought and beat the Legionnaires. A slightly smaller man, yet appearing larger than all.]
6.6 Back to the Palace where Commodus is signing papers. Lucilla walks in. Without looking up, Commodus asks Lucilla
6.6.1 COMMODUS: Why is he still alive?
6.6.2 LUCILLA: I don’t know.
6.6.3 COMMODUS: He shouldn’t be alive. This vexes me. I am terribly vexed. [He sits back in his chair.] I did what I had to do. Had father had his way, the empire would have been torn apart. You do see that?
6.6.4 LUCILLA [quiety murmurs]: Yes.
6.6.5 COMMODUS: What did you feel when you saw him?
6.6.6 LUCILLA: [Holding back emotion, she replies,] I felt nothing.
6.6.7 COMMODUS: He wounded you deeply, didn’t he?
6.6.8 LUCILLA: No more than I wounded him.
6.6.9 COMMODUS: They lied to me in Germania. They told me he was dead. If they lie to me they don’t respect me. If they don’t respect me then how can they ever love me?
6.6.10 LUCILLA: Then you must let the legions know that treachery will not go unpunished.
6.6.11 COMMODUS: Poor, Sister, I wouldn’t want to be your enemy.
6.6.12 LUCILLA [pauses and then asks]: What will you do? [Commodus looks back saying nothing, holding his finger to his lips as though to say, “Shhhh”.]
7 Senate revolution plot Maximus triumphs again
7.1 to the cells where the gladiators are. Maximus is taken by two guards from his cell to another where he is chained by his wrists to the wall. The guards leave and out from a dark corner appears Lucilla, as she moves toward Maximus
7.1.1 LUCILLA: Rich matrons pay well to be pleasured by the bravest champions.
7.1.2 MAXIMUS [Viciously responds]: I knew your brother would send assassins. I didn’t realize he would send his best. [He charges at her, the chains restraining him.]
7.1.3 LUCILLA: Maximus, he doesn’t know.
7.1.4 MAXIMUS: My family was burned and crucified while they were still alive.
7.1.5 LUCILLA: I knew nothing….
7.1.6 MAXIMUS: Don’t lie to me! [He turns away slightly.]
7.1.7 LUCILLA [moves closer]: I wept for them. [Maximus quickly reaches out and grabs her by the throat.]
7.1.8 MAXIMUS: As you wept for your father? As you wept for your father?
7.1.9 LUCILLA: I have been living in a prison of fear since that day. To be unable to mourn your father for fear of your brother. To live in terror every moment of every day, because your son is heir to the throne. Oh, I have wept.
7.1.10 MAXIMUS: My son was innocent.
7.1.11 LUCILLA: So is mine. Must my son die, too, before you will trust me? [Maximus releases his hold on her throat.]
7.1.12 MAXIMUS: What does it matter if I trust you or not?
7.1.13 LUCILLA: The gods have spared you. Don’t you understand? Today I saw a slave become more powerful than the Emperor of Rome.
7.1.14 MAXIMUS: The gods have spared me? I am at their mercy with the power only to amuse a mob.
7.1.15 LUCILLA: That is power. The mob is Rome. And while Commodus controls them he controls everything. Listen to me. My brother has enemies, most of all in the senate. But while the people follow him, no one would dare stand up to him until you.
7.1.16 MAXIMUS: They oppose him, yet they do nothing.
7.1.17 LUCILLA: There are some politicians who have dedicated their lives to Rome. One man above all. If I can arrange it, will you meet him?
7.1.18 MAXIMUS: Do you not understand? I may die in this cell tonight or in the arena tomorrow. I am a slave! What possible difference can I make?
7.1.19 LUCILLA: This man wants what you want.
7.1.20 MAXIMUS [Roars back,]: Then have him kill Commodus!
7.1.21 LUCILLA: : I knew a man once. A noble man. A man of principle, who loved my father and my father loved him. This man served Rome well.
7.1.22 MAXIMUS: That man is gone. Your brother did his work well.
7.1.23 LUCILLA: Let me help you.
7.1.24 MAXIMUS [lowers his voice to nearly a whisper and steps closer to Lucilla]: Yes. You can help me. Forget you ever knew me. Never come here again. Guard! The lady has finished with me. [Lucilla’s eyes slightly tear as she stands helplessly, staring at Maximus.]
7.2 To the gladiator school. Gladiators sit at a table playing a game with a cobra snake. Elsewhere, Maximus, Juba and Hagen sit together. Juba and Hagen eat their bread and beans
7.2.1 HAGEN: Maximus, you commanded legions? Had many victories?
7.2.2 MAXIMUS: Yes.
7.2.3 HAGEN: In Germania?
7.2.4 MAXIMUS: In many countries. [The cook calls out..
7.2.5 “General” and Maximus goes to him where he is handed a bowl of beans. Maximus returns to the table. Sensing the watchful eye of Juba, he looks up to see Juba who cautions Maximus by slightly shaking his head “no”. Maximus holds back and does not eat the food. Hagen, seeing that Maximus is cautious about the food, takes his own spoon and dips it into Maximus’ bowl, and then places the spoon in his own mouth. Hagen suddenly begins to gasp and choke, he grabs his throat as Maximus and Juba look on in shock. Hagen then begins to laugh. Juba and Maximus laugh with relief. Maximus returns to his food but looks up at Juba with a look of doubt…not for that moment but for what lies ahead.]
7.2.6 JUBA: You have a great name. He must kill your name before he kills you.
7.3 At the Colosseum, as the senators are gathering for the upcoming fight. Senator Gracchus is about to be seated
7.3.1 FALCO: Senator Gracchus. I don’t often see you enjoying the pleasures of the vulgar crowd.
7.3.2 GRACCHUS: Well. I do not pretend to be a man of the people, Senator. But I do try to be a man for the people. [Wagons enter the arena tossing bread and fruit at the crowd as they cheer. Caesar enters the arena, accepting the cheers from the crowd. Atop in the stands, stands Cassius adorned in red wig, as he introduces the upcoming fight while the crowd calls out]
7.3.3 CROWD: “Caesar, Caesar, Caesar.”
7.3.4 CASSIUS: People of Rome. On the 4th day of Antioch, we can celebrate the 64th day of the games. And in his majestic charity, the Emperor has deigned this day to favour the people of Rome with an historical final match. Returning to the Colosseum today after five years in retirement, Caesar, is pleased to bring you the only undefeated champion in Roman history, the legendary…Tigris of Gaul!
[Out from the tunnel comes Tigris on his grand chariot, wearing a full headed, silver helmet, entering the arena to the cheers of the crowd. And in the crowd Cicero, Maximus’ servant from the Germania battle, sits anxiously, waiting to see Maximus.]
[to the bowels of the Colosseum where the gladiators are held as they wait their turn in the arena. Maximus stands in the tunnel, shadows cast darkly upon him, as he practices, agile as he is, with his sword awaiting his entrance to the arena. Proximo, standing at the bottom of the tunnel with the other fighters, calls up to Maximus and Maximus calls back.]
7.3.5 PROXIMO: He knows too well how to manipulate a mob.
7.3.6 MAXIMUS: Marcus Aurelius had a dream that was Rome, Proximo. This is not it. This is not it!
7.3.7 PROXIMO: Marcus Aurelius is dead, Maximus. We mortals are but shadows and dust, shadows and dust, Maximus. [Maximus stands ready to enter the arena, the gates are opened and the voice of the announcer, Cassius, can be heard,
7.3.8 CASSIUS: “Representing the training lyceum of Antonius Proximo, Caesar is proud to give you Aelius Maximus.” With that, Maximus walks out onto the arena floor, shield in one hand, sword in the other. The crowd cheers. Proximo stops as he hears his name announced in the Colosseum, bringing back memories.]
[Commodus, Lucilla, Lucius and Quintus watch from the Emperor’s box as Maximus and Tigris are introduced to the crowd. On the arena floor, Maximus plants his sword in the sand and bends down in his ritual way, to collect in his hands a sampling of dirt. Cicero is again seen in the stands, this time, slightly smiling, relieved to see the General. At the Emperor’s box, Lucilla holds back all emotion. The crowd calling out]
7.3.9 “Maximus, Maximus, Maximus.”
7.3.10 COMMODUS: They embrace him like he’s one of their own.
7.3.11 LUCILLA: The mob is fickle brother. He’ll be forgotten in a month.
7.3.12 COMMODUS: No, much sooner than that. It has been arranged.
[Back on the arena floor, Tigris turns to Caesar’s box, with swords crossed, he bows,
7.3.13 “We who are about to die salute you.” Maximus stands by, showing no salute whatsoever. As Maximus gets ready to fight, the large doors to the arena are thrown open, surprising Maximus. From each door emerges a team of men, who run into the arena. Each team picks up a chain from the sand. Maximus becomes distracted. Tigris kicks sand into Maximus’ face and begins the fight with his sword followed immediately with a fierce kick to the chest. Maximus is thrown to the ground and rolls out of the way of an opening trap door as large tiger jumps out, pouncing at the fighting gladiators. Maximus is now having to escape the claws of the tigers as he battles Tigris. Another tiger pounces at Maximus who deflects the attack with his shield. Maximus’ roars can be heard as he does battle. In the background can be heard
7.3.14 “loose, loose, loose” and “pull, pull, pull” as the handlers coordinate their efforts in handling each of the tigers that are now on the arena floor growling and charging at Maximus. As the fight continues, each fighter gives fierceful blows to the other. The trap doors open as Maximus gets closer and the tigers jump out, swiping at Maximus with their large paws. He falls to the ground and makes a full roll to get away from the tigers]
[Maximus manages to disarm Tigris with a fierce blow of his shield to his face, switching his sword from one hand to the other, Maximus stands ready to finish off Tigris. Suddenly, a fourth tiger jumps out of a trap door and jumps at Maximus. In that split second, Maximus turns and the tiger is speared with his sword. Maximus is thrown to the sand as the large beast lays atop him. Maximus stabs the beast repeatedly, killing it. The crowds cheer wildly. Tigris moves in for an attack. Maximus, on his back with the beast still on him, manages to grab Tigris’ axe, again hits Tigris’ face shield and with great force and a fierce roar spikes Tigris in the foot. Tigris bends over in pain, blood pouring from the opening of his mask. Maximus stands and kicks Tigris’ chest, knocking him to the ground. He is finished! The crowd cheers
7.3.15 CROWD: “kill, kill, kill”. With ax in hand, standing over the fallen Tigris, he slides open the silver mask exposing Tigris’ bloodied face. ]
[Maximus looks up at Commodus. The Emperor is clearly disappointed that his plan has failed. Commodus stands, arm extended and slowly shows a “thumb down”. Maximus lifts the axe over his head, ready to kill Tigris then suddenly tosses the axe aside–in defiance of Commodus but, also, finished with the killing. The senators sit in their box, silent, watching each other in astonishment. From the crowd can be heard
7.3.16 CROWD: “Maximus, Maximus the merciful.” Commodus displays a hint of a false smile as though to prevent the crowd from truly knowing the hate he feels for Maximus and to guard himself from the knowledge of his failure. Commodus leaves the box.] [Maximus is about to exit the arena, the Praetorian enter and encircle him as Commodus enters the arena to boos from the crowd and approaches Maximus.]
7.3.17 COMMODUS: What am I going to do with you, you simply won’t…die. Are we so different, you and I? You take life when you have to, as I do. [Exhausted from the fight, Maximus coldly stares at him.]
7.3.18 MAXIMUS: I only have one more life to take and then it is done.
7.3.19 COMMODUS: Then take it now. [Maximus glances up at Lucilla as she sits in the Emperor’s box, and then to the Praetorian as they stand guard around the two. Maximus calmly turns to walk away….]
7.3.20 COMMODUS: They tell me your son [Maximus slowly turns back to him] squealed like a girl when they nailed him to the cross…. [the pain of reliving the heinous act washes across his face]. And your wife, moaned like a whore when they ravaged her again, and again, and again.
7.3.21 MAXIMUS [exhibiting extreme but calm restraint]: The time for honouring yourself will soon be at an end, Highness. [Maximus slowly turns away from Commodus, the Praetorian step aside and let Maximus pass. He leaves the arena. Commodus is left with a look of surprise.]
7.3.22 CROWD: Maximus, Maximus, Maximus….
8 The Final challenge
8.1 To the streets as Maximus is taken by two guards, back to the gladiator school. Proximo follows behind, shielded under his large umbrella. They pass through the streets adjacent the Colosseum. A large crowd of fans are waiting for Maximus, chanting his name and waving banners displaying “Maximvs”. In the crowd is Cicero. Cicero tries to catch the attention of Maximus, his arm stretched out, holding a small leather pouch, and crying out his name. At last, Maximus sees him and with joy, calls back
8.1.1 CICERO: General! General! General!
8.1.2 MAXIMUS: “Cicero!” Cicero runs through the crowd calling after him, trying desperately to get closer to his master. Maximus struggles to get near but the guards are staying close, holding back the crowds. – Where are you camped?
8.1.3 CICERO: Ostia ! [Finally, after several attempts, Cicero hides behind a prostitute who is also vying for Maximus’ attention. This time, Maximus gets close to Cicero and they reach out to each other.]
8.1.4 MAXIMUS: Tell the men the general lives. Find me, find me! [The guards call out
8.1.5 GUARD: “Go. Move along. Move along.” As they pull Maximus away from Cicero, he manages to give Maximus the pouch he was carrying. Maximus hides it inside his palms.]
8.2 Later, in his cell, Maximus eagerly opens the leather pouch handed to him by Cicero, inside he finds the two figurines of his wife and son. He looks at them longingly, kissing tenderly the figurine of his wife, as though she were there to receive his affection and love. Juba approaches.
8.2.1 JUBA: Can they hear you? [Maximus turns his head towards Juba, his eyes moist from the happiness of his reunion with his family through the figurines and responds to Juba.]
8.2.2 MAXIMUS: Who?
8.2.3 JUBA: Your family, in the after life?
8.2.4 MAXIMUS: Oh, yes.
8.2.5 JUBA: What do you say to them?
8.2.6 MAXIMUS: To my boy, I tell him I will see him again soon, and to keep his heels down when he’s riding his horse. [Maximus continues with a smile as he grasps the figurines tighter,] To my wife…that is not your business. [Together they laugh. Maximus holds tight his belongings, sending a look of victory to Juba. A look of peace settles on his face as he clutches the figurines.]
8.3 Back at the Palace, Commodus, in a child-like pouty fashion, is talking with Senator Falco
8.3.1 COMMODUS: And now they love Maximus for his mercy, so I can’t just kill him or it makes me even more unmerciful. The whole thing is like a great…nightmare.
8.3.2 FALCO: He is defying you. His every victory is an act of defiance, the mob sees this, and so do the Senate. Every day he lives they grow bolder. Kill him!
8.3.3 COMMODUS: No! I will not make a martyr of him.
8.3.4 FALCO: I have been told of a certain sea snake which has a very unusual method of attracting its prey. It will lie at the bottom of the ocean as if wounded, then its enemies will approach and yet it will lie quite still and then its enemies will take little bites of it and yet it remains still.
8.3.5 COMMODUS: So, we will lie still and let our enemies come to us and nibble. …. Have every senator followed.
8.4 The following day, gladiators are training inside the gladiator school. Maximus walks through the camp, making his way to a gate where the crowds watch the gladiators on display. Maximus passes a guard who calls him by name. He nods in recognition of the guard. Maximus reaches the gate where Cicero is waiting. Placing his hand behind Cicero’s head, clasping his hand with the other, they talk.
8.4.1 MAXIMUS: Cicero, my old friend! I thought I had seen you for the last time.
8.4.2 CICERO: We thought you were dead!
8.4.3 MAXIMUS: Close. How long have the men been in Ostia?
8.4.4 CICERO: All winter.
8.4.5 MAXIMUS: How do they look?
8.4.6 CICERO: Fat and bored.
8.4.7 MAXIMUS: Who is in command?
8.4.8 CICERO: Some fool from Rome
8.4.9 MAXIMUS: How soon do you think they could be ready to fight?
8.4.10 CICERO: For you, tomorrow.
8.4.11 MAXIMUS: I need you to do something for me.
8.5 In the city at the bazaar, as Cicero waits, anxiously looking about the street, a children’s play is underway — A Cassius impersonator entertains the crowd
8.5.1 IMPERSONATOR: Come! Be seated. If you haven’t been in the arena, you can see it from here. The Giant Maximus is defeating our Emperor Commodus. What are we do to?” The crowd laughs and cheers [Suddenly, Cicero eyes Lucilla as she is carried on her litter through the crowd. He runs to meet them. ]
8.5.2 CICERO: M’lady! I served your father at Vindebona!
8.5.3 GUARD: Back!
8.5.4 CICERO: M’lady, I served your father at Vindebona.
8.5.5 GUARD: Back!
8.5.6 CICERO: I then served the General Maximus. I serve him still!
8.5.7 LUCILLA [to her escort]: Stop! Stop! Stand back!
8.5.8 CICERO kneeling beside her, whispering]: The General sends word, he will meet your politician.
8.5.9 LUCILLA [gives him two golden coins]: For your loyalty, soldier.
8.5.10 CICERO: Thank you M’lady.
8.6 Gladiator cells. Maximus has been brought to a central room by Proximo
8.6.1 LUCILLA [commanding Proximo]: Leave us. [Maximus sits as Lucilla turns to an adjacent room as she calls out,] Senator Gracchus.
8.6.2 GRACCHUS: [enters the room]: General. I hope my coming here today is evidence enough that you can trust me.
8.6.3 MAXIMUS: The Senate is with you?
8.6.4 GRACCHUS: The Senate? Yes I can speak for them.
8.6.5 MAXIMUS: You can buy my freedom and smuggle me out of Rome?
8.6.6 GRACCHUS: To what end?
8.6.7 MAXIMUS: Get me outside the city walls. Have fresh horses ready to take me to Ostia. My army is encamped there. By nightfall of the second day I shall return at the head of 5,000 men.
8.6.8 LUCILLA: But the legions all have new commanders, Loyal to Commodus.
8.6.9 MAXIMUS: When my men see me alive you shall see where their loyalties lie.
8.6.10 GRACCHUS: This is madness. No Roman army has entered the capital in 100 years. I will not trade one dictatorship for another.
8.6.11 MAXIMUS: The time for half measures and talk is over, Senator. …
8.6.12 GRACCHUS: So, after your glorious coup, what then? You will take your 5,000 warriors and leave?
8.6.13 MAXIMUS: I will leave. The soldiers will stay for your protection, under the command of the senate.
8.6.14 GRACCHUS: So. Once all of Rome is yours, you’ll just give it back to the people. Tell me why?
8.6.15 MAXIMUS [he turns to Lucilla] : Because that was the last wish of a dying man. [He turns back to Gracchus.] I will kill Commodus, the fate of Rome, I leave to you.
8.6.16 GRACCHUS: Marcus Aurelius trusted you. His daughter trusts you. I will trust you. But we have little time. Give me two days and I will buy your freedom. And you, you stay alive. Or I will be dead. Now I must go. [Gracchus extends his hand to shake Maximus’ as he rises.]
8.7 To Proximo’s quarters where Maximus is speaking with him…
8.7.1 PROXIMO: This won’t work. The emperor knows too much. And as for me, it’s becoming dangerous. [A soldier is seen outside, attempting to overhear their talk.]
8.7.2 MAXIMUS: You will be paid on my return. I give you my word.
8.7.3 PROXIMO: Your word! What if you don’t return?
8.7.4 MAXIMUS: Do you remember what it was to have trust, Proximo?
8.7.5 PROXIMO: Trust!? Who am I to trust?
8.7.6 MAXIMUS: I will kill Commodus.
8.7.7 PROXIMO: Why would I want that? He makes me rich. Oh, I, … I know that you are a man of your word, General. I know that you would die for honour. You would die for Rome. You would die for the memory of your ancestors. But I, on the other hand, I am an entertainer. Guard!
8.7.8 MAXIMUS [as he leaves Proximo, he turns back to say…] : He killed the man who set you free.
8.8 Senator Gracchus is seen at his home feeding chickens and ducks. A servant is near and warns the senator, “Praetorians, Master” as he sees their approach. Gracchus sends the servant away. The Praetorian arrest Gracchus.
8.8.1 SERVUS: Praetorians, Master!
8.9 Lucilla walks into the Palace. Commodus sits quietly and as she attempts to leave the room he stops her
8.9.1 COMMODUS: Where have you been? I sent for you.
8.9.2 LUCILLA: Please, brother. What troubles you?
8.9.3 COMMODUS: Does Gracchus have a new lover?
8.9.4 LUCILLA: I don’t know.
8.9.5 COMMODUS: I thought you had seen him. He infects everyone like a putrid fever. For the health of Rome, the Senate must be bled and he will be bleed too, very soon.
8.9.6 LUCILLA: But not tonight.
8.9.7 COMMODUS: Do you remember what our father once said? [He moves to sit on the edge of the bed.] It’s a dream, a frightful dream…life is. Do you think that is true? [Lucilla moves closer and sits beside her brother. A concerned, sympathetic expression covers her face.]
8.9.8 LUCILLA: I don’t know.
8.9.9 COMMODUS: I think it is. And I have only you to share it with. [Lucilla comes closer, to comfort him. Commodus lays his head against her shoulder. He then leans her back and lays her on the bed. With terror in her eyes, she lays still, fearful of what might happen. Commodus gently puts his finger to her mouth and tells her, “Open your mouth”. Hesitantly she opens her mouth slightly as he places his finger to her lips and then to his. He presses his head to her shoulder and says, “You know I love you.”She replies,
8.9.10 LUCILLA: “And I love you.” She lays still, her fear mounting at the thought of what may occur but Commodus soon lays his head down and falls asleep. Lucilla gently and quietly gets up and leaves. Waiting outside the room, stand her guards who follow her out.]
8.10 Back at Proximo’s as he brings Lucilla to Maximus’ cell. Proximo barks orders to the other gladiators to leave, “Get out, move!”They look to Maximus for approval and he gives it to them with a nod of the head — the gladiators leave. Proximo turns to Maximus, “Congratulations, General. You’ve got very persuasive friends”, and he turns to leave. Lucilla enters the cell.
8.10.1 PROXIMUS: Get out, move! Congratulations, General. You’ve got very persuasive friends.
8.10.2 LUCILLA: My brother has had Gracchus arrested. We daren’t wait any longer. You must leave tonight. [Maximus moves closer to Lucilla.] Proximo will come at midnight and take you to the gate. Your servant Cicero will be waiting with horses.
8.10.3 MAXIMUS: You have done all this?
8.10.4 LUCILLA: Yes.
8.10.5 MAXIMUS: You risk too much.
8.10.6 LUCILLA: I have much to pay for.
8.10.7 MAXIMUS: You have nothing to pay for. You love your son. You are strong for him.
8.10.8 LUCILLA: I am tired of being strong. My brother hates all the world and you, most of all.
8.10.9 MAXIMUS: Because your father chose me.
8.10.10LUCILLA: No, because my father loved you … and because I loved you.
8.10.11MAXIMUS: A long time ago. [Tenderly taking her hand, kisses it.]
8.10.12LUCILLA: Was I very different then?
8.10.13MAXIMUS [With a slight smile, gently stroking her face]: You laughed more.
8.10.14LUCILLA: I have felt alone all my life, except with you. [Maximus breaths deeply.] …. I must go.
8.10.15MAXIMUS: Yes. [They exchange a long tender kiss.]
8.11 At the Palace, Lucius playing swords with the tall African servants, “there, there, there, there and there, and I’ve got you,”proclaims Lucius. Commodus is awakened from his sleep, goes to Lucius and takes a wooden sword from the servant. He begins to play swords with Lucius.
8.11.1 LUCIUS: there, there, there, there and there, and I’ve got you!
8.11.2 COMMODUS: Isn’t it late to be playing legionnaire?
8.11.3 LUCIUS: I am not a legionnaire.
8.11.4 COMMODUS: Not a legionnaire?
8.11.5 LUCIUS: I am a gladiator.
8.11.6 COMMODUS: A gladiator? Gladiators only fight in the games. Wouldn’t you prefer to be a brave Roman warrior like Julius Caesar?
8.11.7 LUCIUS: I am Maximus, the savior of Rome. [Commodus stops and kneels in front of Lucius. The wooden sword scrapes the marble floor as it slips.]
8.11.8 COMMODUS: The savior of Rome. And who said that? [Lucius whispers in his ear. Commodus holds him tighter and tighter as he hears.] [SCENE CHANGE – Lucilla returns to the palace and asks her servant where Lucius is. She replies,
8.11.9 SERVANT: “He’s with the Emperor, M’lady.” She quickly leaves in search of Lucius. She walks to Commodus’ room and as she approaches, she can hear Commodus talking with Lucius. Lucilla slows her pace to listen and then quickly walks to join in the midst of their talk.]
8.11.10LUCIUS: …she couldn’t have.
8.11.11COMMODUS: Yes, she did. She took it from a basket, pressed it to her breast, right here above the heart. …. hissss
8.11.12LUCIUS: And it bit her in the breast?!
8.11.13COMMODUS: Yes. You see, Lucius, sometimes royal ladies behave very strangely and do very odd things in the name of love.
8.11.14LUCIUS: I think it’s silly.
8.11.15COMMODUS: So do I, so do I. [Commodus sees Lucilla enter the room.]
8.11.16COMMODUS: Sister…join us. I’ve been reading to dear Lucius.
8.11.17LUCIUS: I’ve been reading, too.
8.11.18COMMODUS: Yes, he’s a very clever little boy. He’ll make a grand Emperor one day. [Lucilla looks astonished, fearful at what may be occurring.]
8.11.19COMMODUS: We’ve been reading about the great Marc Anthony and his adventures in Egypt.
8.11.20LUCIUS: And the Queen killed herself with a snake!
8.11.21COMMODUS [to Lucius]: And just wait until you hear what happened to our other ancestors! If you’re very good, tomorrow night I’ll tell you the story of Emperor Claudius. He was betrayed, by those closest to him … by his own blood … they whispered in dark corners and went out late at night and conspired and conspired. [Lucilla is nearly in tears as her fear heightens.]
8.11.22COMMODUS: But the Emperor knew they were up to something. He knew they were busy little bees. And one night he sat down with one of them and he looked at her and he said, “Tell me what you have been doing, busy little bee, or I shall strike down those dearest to you. You shall watch as I bathe in their blood.” And the emperor was heartbroken. The little bee had wounded him more deeply than anyone else could ever have done. And what do you think happened then, Lucius?
8.11.23LUCIUS: I don’t know Uncle.
8.11.24COMMODUS [looking at Lucilla]: The little bee told him everything. [Tears slowly roll down Lucilla’s face.]
8.12 Back at the gladiator school…Maximus begins to collect his things, placing the figurines of his wife and son into their leather pouch, slipping his ring on his finger. Outside, Praetorian guards, some on foot, others on horseback, are seen as they approach. Meanwhile, assassins are releasing a red coral snake into the bed of Senator Gaius as he and his wife sleep. The Praetorian have reached Proximo’s quarters; stand outside the gate and call out, “Open in the name of the Emperor. Open the gates, Proximo. Open the gates. Do you want to die, old man?”Maximus and Proximo hear the cries and look out at the guards. Proximo walks to Maximus, holding a large ring of keys and says, Here. Everything is prepared. It seems you have won your freedom. [Proximo hands Maximus the ring of keys for his get away.
8.12.1 PRETORIANUS: Open in the name of the Emperor. Open the gates, Proximo. Open the gates. Do you want to die, old man?
8.12.2 PROXIMUS: Here. Everything is prepared. It seems you have won your freedom.
8.12.3 MAXIMUS: Proximo, are you in danger of becoming a good man.
8.12.4 PROXIMO: Hahh!
8.12.5 MAXIMUS: Juba. [as Maximus hands him the ring of keys to the cells.][Outside the guards continue calling out,
8.12.6 PRESTORIANS: “All enemies of the Emperor die!” They also call out “Maximus”. The guards pull the gate down and out of the way as they enter the school.][Meanwhile, the gladiators gather around Maximus to listen to his orders.]
8.12.7 MAXIMUS: I only need moments so you need not be careless with your lives. If you don’t want to be any part of this go back to your cells.
8.12.8 HAGEN: We will wait here for you, Maximus. [The gladiators call out,]
8.12.9 MAXIMUS: “Strength and Honour”. [Maximus turns to Juba and says “Strength and Honour” as the two friends gently butt foreheads. Maximus begins to make his get away as the gladiators battle with the Roman guards. The gladiators fight bravely. Hagen is killed when several guards stab him with their swords, and several arrows pierce his body. Juba is seen fighting but escapes harm. In Proximo’s quarters, the Praetorian run up the stairs to his room. Proximo stands with his back to the door, holding his Rudius and says,
8.12.10PROXIMO: “Shadows and dust”. The guards stab him to his death. Meanwhile, Maximus makes his way through the tunnel to the outside. Along the way, he finds his armour and sword and puts them on. Once outside, he sees a rider standing still. He whistles and the rider, Cicero, recognizes the whistle and shouts
8.12.11CICERO: “Maximus”. At that moment, his horse bolts and Cicero is hanged by the rope around his neck, his body sways and bumps into the tree. Maximus runs to him and lifts him. Cicero says, “I’m sorry.” The Praetorian shoot arrows and kill Cicero as Maximus cries out an anguished roar
8.12.12“Noooo!” Maximus is surrounded by the Praetorian.]
8.13 Back at the palace. Senator Falco approaches Commodus as he stands looking over the city, flocks of birds rise up and over the Colosseum. Falco reports, “It is done.” Commodus slowly turns to Falco
8.13.1 FALCUS: It is done.
8.13.2 COMMODUS: And what of my nephew and what of his mother? Shall they share her lover’s fate or should I be merciful? Commodus the merciful. Lucius will stay with me now and if his mother so much as looks at me in a manner that displeases me, he will die. And if she decides to be noble and take her own life, he will die. And, as for you, [turning to Lucilla] you will love me as I have loved you. You will provide me with an heir of pure blood so that Commodus and his progeny will rule for 1,000 years. Am I not merciful? [He gets close to her face and tries to kiss her but Lucilla turns away. Commodus pinches her jaw with his fingers, turning her face towards him and screams] AM I NOT MERCIFUL?! [Tears slowly come down Lucilla’s face.]
8.14 at the Colosseum. The crowd chants “Maximus, Maximus, Maximus” The petals of red flowers float in the air onto the sands of the arena floor…. Below, Maximus is chained, arms extended out and above his shoulders in a fashion that prevents him from defending himself or combating anyone. Commodus enters the cell and walks to Maximus. The other prisoners (Gracchus, Juba, other gladiators) are watching as he enters. Commodus, dressed in his white leather armour, approaches the chained Maximus who is bruised and weary.
8.14.1 COMMODUS [In a whisper]: Maximus. Maximus. Maximus. They call for you. The general who became a slave. The slave who became a gladiator. The gladiator who defied an emperor. A striking story. Now the people want to know how the story ends. Only a famous death will do. What could be more glorious than to challenge the emperor himself in the great arena. [Commodus places his finger alongside Maximus’ face, stroking it as he speaks.]
8.14.2 MAXIMUS: You would fight me?
8.14.3 COMMODUS: Why not? Do you think I am afraid?
8.14.4 MAXIMUS: I think you have been afraid all your life.
8.14.5 COMMODUS: Unlike Maximus the invincible, who knows no fear?
8.14.6 MAXIMUS [laughing]: I knew a man who once said, death smiles at us all. All that man can do is smile back.
8.14.7 COMMODUS: I wonder. Did your friend smile at his own death?
8.14.8 MAXIMUS: You must know. He was your father.
8.14.9 COMMODUS: You loved my father, I know. But so did I. That makes us brothers, doesn’t it? [Commodus embraces Maximus and with one cowardly, fierce thrust with his dagger that has been hidden in his sleeve, stabs Maximus in the left side and then kisses him on the neck. Blood immediately runs from the wound. Maximus lets out his breath as the puncture releases the life from his body.] Smile for me now, brother!
8.14.10COMMODUS [to Quintus]: Strap on his armour. Conceal the wound.
[SCENE CHANGE – the trap door to the arena opens as the lift rises, encircled with the Praetorian as they stand behind their black shields. In the middle, the white clad Commodus, gazing upwardly, basking in the sun stands next to the wounded, dying Maximus dressed in his black body armour. All the while, Quintus fearfully staring at Maximus. As they reach the floor of the arena, the Praetorian take their ring formation. Maximus stumbles to the center, holding his left arm close to his body protecting his wound. He slowly stoops to pick up a handful of sand, with a watchful eye on Quintus. Maximus rubs the sand between his hands and reaches for his sword but Quintus tosses it away, out of Maximus’ reach. Maximus painfully moves to where the sword has been tossed, picks it up and immediately charges at Commodus. The two do battle. Maximus roars as he attacks Commodus, but Commodus does well and attacks back. Maximus manages to knock Commodus’ legs out from underneath him who falls flat on his back to the ground. He quickly gets up and strikes Maximus with all his might. Maximus swings his sword back at Commodus with great force. With the swing of his sword, as Maximus spins back and Commodus cuts Maximus’ leg. The wound begins to bleed. Maximus stumbles but maintains his balance and charges at Commodus cutting his arm, causing Commodus to drop his sword. Commodus stands unarmed.]
[Maximus, losing strength and gravely suffering from the dagger wound inflicted by Commodus while earlier chained, begins to drift into the after life — he sees the gate to his home, he reaches out in an effort to push the portal open, his sword dropping from his hand. Meanwhile, Commodus is calling Quintus for his sword,
“Sword, give me your sword,”
but Quintus does not comply. Commodus then turns to the Praetorian, calling out,
. The guards begin to pull their swords when Quintus quickly orders them to
8.14.12QUINTUS: “sheath your swords”. They comply. Commodus again reaches for his hidden dagger and Maximus quickly returns to this life, unarmed but for his strength and determination. Commodus charges at Maximus with his dagger. Maximus ferociously strikes Commodus with his fist punching with great force, then butting his head with his elbow. Commodus strikes back but is no match for Maximus. Maximus grabs hold of Commodus. With one hand cupping the back of Commodus’ head, the other forces the dagger back into Commodus. All the while, Commodus punches back as he tries relentlessly to fight off Maximus. Maximus slowly plunges the dagger into Commodus’ throat, deeper and deeper until it can go no further. Commodus, his breath leaving his body, falls to the ground.
[The fight over, Maximus begins to once again drift to the after life. He reaches out his bloodied hand, to push open the portal that leads to his family, to his home, but is once again, brought back when Quintus calls to him,
8.14.13QUINTUS: “Maximus, Maximus”.]
8.14.14MAXIMUS : Quintus, free my men. Senator Gracchus is to be reinstated. There was a dream that was Rome, it shall be realized. These are the wishes of Marcus Aurelius. [Quintus calls out to the guards,
8.14.15QUINTUS: “Free the prisoners, …go!” ]
[Maximus stands, unsteady, as the vision of the wheat field once again comes to him but this time it is more clear. His wife and son are waiting for him. Suddenly he falls as he loses consciousness, flat on his back with a tremendous force, hard like a tree.
[Lucilla runs into the arena, dropping to her knees at his side and calling to him
8.14.16 LUCILLA: “Maximus!” Maximus gazes up and tells her,
8.14.17 MAXIMUS: “Lucius is safe.” Lucilla looks at him adoringly as Maximus lays still and responds,
8.14.18LUCILLA: “Go to them”. Again, Maximus sees the vision of his home, tall cedars beyond the gate, as the sound of childish laughter is heard and sees the wheat field as his wife and son stand along the road, looking to him. His boy runs towards him as he walks through the tall wheat — Now he is free. With her hand, she closes his eyes, his face calm and at peace as he leaves this world. Lucilla adds, “You are home.” Grieving, with one hand on her head, she quickly regains her presence, stands and turns to Senator Gracchus and the crowd.]
8.14.19 LUCILLA: Is Rome worth one good man’s life? We believed it once. Make us believe it again. He was a soldier of Rome. Honour him.
8.14.20GRACCHUS [Comes forward and asks]: Who will help me carry him?
[Many gather to lift Maximus and carry him from the arena. Commodus’ body is left alone, on the sand.]
[SCENE CHANGE as Juba is hallowing a place in the blood stained sand on the spot where Maximus died. Juba unfolds the small leather pouch and removes the statuettes belonging to Maximus of his wife and son and gently places them in their resting place, smoothing over the sand to secure their place and proclaims:]
8.14.21JUBA: Now we are free. I will see you again. But not yet, not yet….