Rise, rise. Your fame is well deserved, Spaniard. I don’t think there has ever been a gladiator to match you. As for this young man. Lucius is now standing in front of Commodus, Commodus arms affectionately holding the boy close. COMMODUS
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? MAXIMUS
My name is Gladiator.
He turns to leave, his back to Commodus. He will not attempt to harm Commodus with Lucius present. COMMODUS
How dare you show your back to me, Slave? You will remove your helmet and tell me your name. 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.
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. (beat)
Now the people want to know how the story ends. Only a famous death will do. And what could be more glorious than to challenge the Emperor himself in the great arena? Commodus places his finger alongside Maximus face, stroking his cheek as he speaks. MAXIMUS
You would fight me?
Why not? Do you think I’m afraid?
I think you have been afraid all your life.
Unlike Maximus the Invincible, who knows no fear?
I knew a man who once said, ‘Death smiles at us all. All a man can do is smile back.’ COMMODUS
I wonder. Did your friend smile at his own death?
You must know. He was your father.
You loved my father, I know. But so did I. That makes us brothers, doesn’t it? COMMODUS
Smile for me now, brother!
Strap on his armor. Conceal the wound.
Today the Council...
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