Gladiators author signs books in Ipswich

OSCAR-WINNING scriptwriter William Nicholson was in Ipswich to reveal his Hollywood hates – including writing films.Nicholson, who wrote the Gladiator screenplay, was in Ipswich to launch Wind on Fire – his latest fantasy book for children.

OSCAR-WINNING scriptwriter William Nicholson was in Ipswich to reveal his Hollywood hates – including writing films.

Nicholson, who wrote the Gladiator screenplay, was in Ipswich to launch Wind on Fire – his latest fantasy book for children.

But during his lecture at the County Library he criticised the shallow Hollywood lifestyle and laid into fellow Hollywood hero George Lucas – the man behind the Star Wars films.

He said: 'Look what a mess George Lucas is making of Star Wars. Have you seen Attack of the Clones? It's garbage.'

Nicholson said he only wrote scripts because he needed the money to write books. And revealed he spent as little time as possible in Hollywood.

In Gladiator, tough-guy Kiwi actor Russell Crowe stabbed and slashed his way to Best Actor as General Maximus.

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But Nicholson said he was nothing like the character he created for Crowe – revealing an emotional side and admitting he was awkward teenager.

He said: 'I used to worry about not having friends at school, not having a girlfriend after school and about making a success of myself in my 20s.'

The audience was mostly made up of school children. Nicholson encouraged them to be 'as peculiar as possible' and not to worry too much about exam results.

'I really wanted to have a go at exams. I object to everybody across the school being made to do the same sort of tests as if they are identical.

"Teachers are having to cheat on behalf of their children – to bump up their exams."

In conclusion, the film writer said his books probably would eventually become movies, but he hoped his readers would prefer the printed word.

He said: 'The Lord of the Rings was very good – that's what I want for me.

'But when the film comes, I want you all to say "not as good as the book".'