GLADIATOR screenwriter William Nicholson fiercely opposed the decision to give Russell Crowe's vengeful MAXIMUS a passionate moment in the film - as it ruined the movie.

The RIDLEY SCOTT-directed epic was a massive success and won a raft of Oscars when it was released in 2000, but Nicholson - who was brought on board to rescue the script - was left unsatisfied.

And the moment, where grief-stricken Maximus enjoys a kiss with Emperor's daughter LUCILLA (CONNIE NIELSON) particularly troubled him.

He fumes, "It completely invalidates the movie, given that, up till then Crowe has been vowing to avenge the death of his wife.

"We talked about it and the feeling was you have to have a bit of a snog somewhere. I didn't have total control of the film. If I had, it would have been very different."

25/05/2004 13:54