I tell you, I’d have eaten Russell Crowe. I mean, look at me.
Meet Metellus, Gladiator (aka Caleb the Zealot). The latest shot from my vault and the second from the NBC/BBC mini series from the 1980’s: ‘AD – Anno Domini’.
I loved that trident. Loved everything about the gig, actually. Ten months in Tunisia filming it. Getting to fight with a variety of weaponry. For a swordsman, historical nut and all round fantasist time traveller, it didn’t get much better. We actually shot in a genuine colisseum, one of the best preserved in the world, at El Djem ( A little weird, to be honest, making pretend were so many people had died doing it for real).
You can see how well I was looked after. The historical details of weapons and costumes were superb. And I got myself into the best shape of my life to do it – I mean, if you are going to spend most of a 12 hour show dressed in a loin cloth and the odd leather strap you’ve got to do something! And the stunt team was tremendous. All Italian, once they saw I could do it they accepted me into the brotherhood. We trained very hard for the various fights we did, weeks of it. I think I had nine active wounds on my body at one point. But the results were terrific – though we terrified the life out of the 1st Assistant on the first minute-and-a-half mastershot of the assassination of Caligula. ‘We don’t shoot fights like this,’ he yelled after it. ‘What if you got a sword across your bugle?’ We’d be…f#$%^ed’.
I didn’t and we weren’t. It probably came close though. But I loved it all. 27, in my fighting prime, living the fantasy. It may not have been the most successful show on TV but I can claim my small place in the pantheon of epic Gladiatoral combat.
And Russell Crowe? I’d have eaten him. Because, you see, he wouldn’t have known the secret of the Retiarius: the weapon is not the trident. The weapon is the net. He’d never have seen it coming.