A screenwriter with an affinity for historically angled tales, David H. Franzoni was pretty close to the mark when he speculated that teens would flock to Gladiator. Speculating on the athletic mentality and sporting nature of the film, Franzoni noted that teens can relate to the nature of competition inherent in the film and would appreciate its fresh perspective on a genre that many thought had seen its day.
Beginning his career by collaborating on the screenplay for the 1985 Patsy Cline biopic Sweet Dreams, Franzoni first ventured into the past peplum style with Red Sonja. After taking a brief break for comedy with the Whoopi Goldberg espionage escapade Jumpin Jack Flash, Franzoni moved into more serious territory with Steven Spielberg's historical slave revolt drama, Amistad. But it was back in sword-and-sandal territory that Franzoni fully realized his affection for historical-based adventure, collaborating with John Logan and William Nicholson on the screenplay for Ridley Scott's Gladiator, for which the trio earned an Oscar nomination for Best Original Screenplay.