While at Universal, one of the best decisions we ever made–or in truth was made for us–was to green light the film Gladiator. I was the Co- Chairman with Stacey Snider and Ron Meyer was our boss. We had taken over the Studio and had a distribution deal with DreamWorks. Steven Spielberg of DreamWorks controlled a project as producer of a script called Gladiator. He had an amazing director in Ridley Scott, an amazing cast with two brilliant actors, Russel Crowe (Maximus- the Gladiator) and Joaquin Phoenix (the jealous, corrupt, cowardly, talentless and nihilist son of the government ruler) and, of course, an amazingly large budget. When Maximus is betrayed and family murdered by the government ruler’s corrupt son and his despicable cohorts, he comes to Rome as a Gladiator to seek revenge and enter the arena to face the despicable son. But this coward of a son, recognizing he is not nor will he ever be the man Gladiator is, stabs Gladiator in the back while his corrupt ruling team hold him down. While the wound ends up fatal, it is not before the Gladiator exacts his revenge on the cowardly son in public, in the arena where, despite his wound, he is able to exact his revenge. I loved the script, its elements and the purity of the Gladiator and all he represents against the corrupt and cowardly son and his co-conspirators. Even with all the dirty tricks and back-stabbing, our Gladiator wins. Interesting to note, that, when the Gladiator loses everything he loves, he neither runs, hides nor fears—rather, he stands up like a man to face the evil doers whose hands are stained with the blood of the innocent, ultimately, reuniting with his family in the after-life. It deserved to win all the Academy Awards. Anyway, we as Universal were invited to be 50/50 partners with DreamWorks on this picture by Steven Spielberg. We all wanted to do it, but at $100M we were already out of budget for the year. Nevertheless, our team stood up, like Gladiator, and rose to the occasion. Edgar Bronfman, CEO of the entire company, spoke to Steven himself, completing the conversation with approval for us to go over our yearly cap. The rest is history. Sort of funny how themes or elements run through your life. I have always admired people who stand up to evil against all odds and accept no compromise for a moral wrong. I personally have always been this way. This is why I love Gladiator and all it stands for. After the release of the movie, I wound up coaching the La Canada Gladiators for 6 years with my family maintaining an association for a total of 13 years.
Brady must be careful in trying to prove his innocence