Gladiator

Updated 6th June 2002

 

In Feb 1999 Ridley Scott and Dreamworks filmed the opening battle scene's of a major Hollywood blockbuster just south of a town called Farnham in the UK . As luck would have it they required the help of 2000 crazy people to come and tear up the local countryside to realistically refight a battle that originally happened in Germany in 180AD .

As a qualified archer and general weirdo this seemed like quite a good idea . So along I wandered to spend two fantastic weeks living in ancient Germany and having a great time .The film stars Russell Crowe (LA Confidential) and Joqahim Phoenix (Rivers brother), also appearing are Richard Harris and Oliver Read. Its a big budget ($100 Million) Blockbuster type movie . There are sets that are the biggest since Ben Hur and on the set in Morocco they had a rumored 20,000 extra's !I met both Mr. Harris (A lifetime honor) and Mr. Crowe , both were highly professional and very friendly to the extra's . They even joined in when a spontaneous game of football started in between takes using a fake severed Roman head. Much to the amusement of Ridley Scott , who is not known for his sense of humor !The film will be released in the UK in late 1999 .If you want any more information on this or any other film/TV show please go to the Internet Movie Database .

 

Update

 

Well folks after much delay and rumour the film has finally Premiered in the UK. What can i say but WOW !!!!!!!!!

 

I am very glad to say that i am seen in three of the opening battle scene, but you have to know where to look !! They did run free showings of the movie in our local town, but never told anybody and then put it on at 10:00 on a Monday Morning !!! What a hopeless gesture. So, to compete with all the other sites i have published below all my pictures of the set and stuff. Remember if you see these shoots anywhere else there probably nicked!!!! So give me a shout at damo@startrek.com and i will investigate.

 

Damian the archer !!

Cool huh !!

 

How does this work ?

 

Roman Cannon Fodder (Sorry, for Cannon Fodder read Infantry!)

Roman's !!! Thousands of them!!!

The Ugly and the Beautiful !!

Ah, ain't it pretty

Ouch !!!

 

Violent Barbarian Warriors looking good for the camera !

 

And Finally ..........

 

During the build up to Gladiator I posted a report to Moviefanonline one of the best film review sites in the US, So, here's the report I wrote.

I will be updating this page as soon as the DVD of Gladiator is out so i can review the opening battle scene with a microscope !!!

 

Moviefanonline Review of Gladiator

 

The opening battle scene of the film was filmed in Bourne Woods just outside Farnham Surrey and was filmed Feb 99. There were approx 2000 extra's on set, 1500 were either Roman Infantry (Cannon Fodder), Roman Cavalry (4 footed cannon fodder) or Persian Archers (Highly skilled artists in their field). I was as you can probably guess an archer! There were also 500 German Barbarian.

The battle was set from a series if battlements built from fallen trees were the Roman's had established a fortified hill fort. Arrayed against them were the Germans in a loose crowd. On set there was a very good atmosphere, loads of friendly rivalry between the cannon fodder and the archers, which disappeared when the Germans turned up, we had a common enemy! The most spectacular scene of the battle I think will be the rain of fire the Roman artillery fired at the Germans. They (The Germans) had been doing a lot of shouting and taking the piss whilst the Romans did there "Marching up and down" as we deployed for battle, they though we looked silly. BUT when 700 archers, 4 Catapults, 2 ballistae and 6 gas powered auto launchers opened fire, they shut the hell up! We launched about 12,000 fire arrows in a little over 30 seconds, not fun to be on the receiving end!

 

The set was very well run, and organized. The food was basic but hot and plentiful and it was VERY cold. As to the big people. Ridley Scott was so professional it was untrue, he didn't Lord it up, he was obviously listening to his production team and taking notice. Mr. Crowe was again highly professional, very willing to chat with his foot troops (And pinch several cigarettes from me as his aide had run out). It took 7 days to do the main battle scenes and about another 7 for the padding and 1 to 1 scenes. It was a great experience and I highly recommend anybody to do it given the opportunity.

 

The days were long and hard, we started at 03:30 in the morning, but it was well worth it to see the likes of Richard Harris doing what he does best. I think that the scenes will be brutally realistic, I had a Huge wound across my face and the battlefield was knee deep in body parts. Probably one of the best moments was the biggest and weirdest game of Football ever. There was a small shoot being done over the hill and we were just kicking our heels so ensued a game of foot ball played with a severed human head and 500 medieval soldiers on each side, it got VERY violent until the head was confiscated by a member of the crew, this didn't stop us, we just started playing with the rest of the body but even that gets boring after a while.

 

 

Update

Well what can I say ?

How many Oscars ?

I am a star !!

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