Mel Gibson Originally Turned Down The Leading Role In ‘Gladiator’

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Mel Gibson is well known for choosing good roles in films that have done pretty well. So, one would think the wild-eyed actor would have wanted to play the lead in Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, right?

Nope. And here’s why.

How Gladiator’s Pieces Came Together

At the time Ridley Scott got underway with Gladiator in production, Mel Gibson turned 44-years-old — an age at which he could’ve feasibly pulled off the role of Maximus Decimus Meridius. (Russell Crowe was 36 years old at the time.)

Gibson may have lost interest in playing Maximus because he had just come off another epic saga introducing young people to great stories they might not know.

Antonio Banderas declined the lead role as well.

An immediate smash hit at movie theaters, Gladiator pulled in more than $182 million. That made the DreamWorks flick the third-highest-grossing movie of 2000.

Gladiator’s lead wasn’t the only role that Mel Gibson didn’t accept. Most shockingly, he recently said in an interview that he passed on the opportunity to play James Bond. On top of all that, Gibson admitted he missed out on the chance to play Rain Man.

I got offered the James Bond movies when I was like twenty-six, which is like forty years ago, okay?” Mel Gibson said. “And they said, ‘Hey, we want you to be the next James Bond.’ And I thought about it; I was in Australia, and I was working with Peter Weir. I did think about it, and I sort of turned it down for that reason. Because I thought, look what happened to poor Sean, he got stuck there for like three decades.”

Read More: “Mel Gibson Almost Directed ‘Good Will Hunting’

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