Oliver Reed
Oliver Reed

Character Portrayed in Gladiator: Antonius Proximo

Born: February 13, 1938; Wimbledon, London, England
Died: May 2, 1999; Valletta, Malta (during filming of Gladiator)

Oliver Reed in Gladiator
Oliver Reed's death in Malta during filming changed the dynamics of his character, Proximo. It was rumored that Proximo's fate was to slip away and survive, like he always had. When Reed died, Director Ridley Scott reportedly spent about $3 million dollars on filming and special effects to chaange Proximo's end. He used a body double to film Proximo's death and then used the special effects to place Reed's head in the footage.

Apart from the story changes caused by his death, Reed's Proximo was fun to watch. he chewed the scenery in nearly every scene and offset Russell Crowe's quiet strength in their scenes together. His lines about winning the crowd and regret could have almost been autobiographical. One can't help but wonder what additional scenes were yet to be filmed. Reed made Proximo compelling enough that there are rumors that a prequel to Gladiator would heavily involve his character's backstory.

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