Wednesday, May 25

Neither athletic nor friendly. Russell Crowe, the last big star who is not willing to change to fit in any canon | Culture | ICON

Some images of Russell Crowe stout, smiling and with a thick white beard with Taika Waititi, Chris Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky – his companions in Thor: Love and Thunder– They have put the focus back on their physical appearance. With subtleties such as “unrecognizable”, it has been almost 20 years in which it is difficult to read a chronicle about the actor – even this one – in which it is not mentioned how far his appearance is from that of a classic heartthrob and normative male beauty. An ode to body shaming –The practice of criticizing someone because their body does not adapt to the prevailing norm, something that men also suffer from– with means What Page Six asking for a minute of silence for the body what did he look like in Gladiator or Howard Stern judging him on his radio show.

It is true that the actor who arrived in Hollywood five decades ago and was elevated by EL PAÍS as “the undeniably virile icon that the metrosexual generation needed” today has little to do with the Apollonian conqueror of L.A. Confidential O GladiatorBut it is also true that there are probably few men in the industry who care less.

Crowe has hardly anything in common with his fellow generations. Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt or George Clooney may momentarily afford the slight sloppiness or excess weight that the role requires, but they always return to their classic profile of a big male star, faithful to the canon they represent on and off the screen. Crowe is also a star who can sustain a movie with his name – here’s the recent one. Wild (2020) but he does not exercise it, or at least not in that way. Off screen, he prefers to pose as a proud country man who, coincidentally, is also one of the best actors of the last decades.

An ‘extremis’ success

Russell Crowe came to the cinema at the age of twenty-five, an age at which many already have established careers, playing Nazi in Romper stomper (1992). To make it clear that typecasting was not going to be his sign, his next role was that of a tender homosexual plumber who shares with his father the search for love in Both of us (1994), a comedy that won awards at the Sydney and Montreal festivals. When Hollywood launched the nets in the Australian fishing ground, Crowe ended up in Los Angeles.

Russell Crowe, in a picture from 'A Good Year'.
Russell Crowe, in a picture from ‘A Good Year’.

The story did not have an idyllic beginning. Upon his arrival in the United States, he had three failures: Quick and deadly, a western to the greater glory of Sharon Stone; Virtuosity, thriller about virtual reality that aged as it was shot, and Spell on the Mayan route, a decaffeinated attempt to revitalize classic adventure films that cast doubt on the New Zealander’s profitability. Crowe began to question the gear in which he had just landed: “Every insignificant executive in the chain is going to give their opinion and modify the idea based on what they think is best, which actually means more profitable. In the end, a score of people who are not going to make the film have put their hands on the script with criteria such as ‘what is taking now’ or ‘the market niche we are going to’. A lot of arguments that have nothing to do with the essence of telling a story, “he told EL PAÍS.

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And a good story was precisely what sustained L.A. Confidential, one of the films of a year, 1997, marked by Titanic. Crowe was beginning a time in his life that described in Rolling Stone like “12 months that seemed like five years.” He was nominated for an Oscar for The dilemma (1999) after gaining 20 kilos to play a gray executive in the tobacco industry, and took him a year later to give life to what more than two decades later remains his most iconic character.

Turning “garbage” into great dialogues

“Máximo Décimo Meridio, commander of the northern armies, general of the middle legions, faithful servant of the true emperor, Marcus Aurelius, father of a murdered son, husband of a murdered woman. I will achieve my revenge in this life or in the next ”is one of those phrases for the story, but it was on the verge of not appearing in Gladiator because Crowe hated her. “You write trash, but luckily I’m a great actor who makes even your trash sound good,” he snapped at screenwriter William Nicholson. Nicholson didn’t take it too badly. “He’s a great actor, so his occasional bouts of arrogance didn’t bother me at all,” declared years later to Daily Mail.

The arrogant Crowe was beginning to show a paw, something that in Australian industry was not a secret. After winning the BAFTA for playing mathematician John Forbes Nash in An amazing mind, chased and cornered the director of the ceremony, Malcolm Gerrie, against the wall. “You are a fucking piece of shit. I’ll make sure you never work in Hollywood, ”she yelled at him. The cause? Their lengthy speech of thanks had been cut. “Thinking about it coldly, I think I was a little more passionate than I would have liked to be,” he later declared.

Russell Crowe in 'Gladiator', in the year 2000
Russell Crowe in ‘Gladiator’, in the year 2000photo:

That the BAFTA was not an isolated incident became clear in 2005, in New York, when the police dragged Crowe out of the Mercer Hotel in handcuffs. According to Nestor Estrada, a hotel receptionist, after not being able to contact his wife by phone, the actor had appeared at the reception and had thrown the phone in his face. The press even came with helicopters to immortalize the new bad boy of Hollywood and a cloud of journalists accompanied Crowe to the police station where he spent six hours. The actor admitted the charges after his incident at the hotel and, according to some media, after a private agreement he paid Estrada $ 100,000.

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But regardless of the incidents, the directors continued to claim him. From Ridley Scott to Ron Howard, through Michael Mann. Curtis hanson said about him: “Russell was relentless in his search for the essence of the character. If that made him a pain in the butt sometimes, you have to live with it. What I don’t like to live with is someone who is a pain in the butt to other stars or only cares about himself. With Russell it was about work. “

When Russell became America’s home breaker

“It bothers me that they persecute me and invade”, declared in Rolling Stone. “It’s another stupid thing that we have to put up with because some people have a constitutional right to earn money by being parasites. And there’s nothing we can do about it except say, ‘Yeah, well, kiss my ass and get off my property.’

Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan walking through New York hand in hand in 2000.
Russell Crowe and Meg Ryan walking through New York hand in hand in 2000.Photo: Getty

Among the few features of his biography that fall within those of a true Hollywood star was his affair with his co-star in Life test, Meg Ryan. Although she exonerated him of having caused the breakdown of her marriage to Dennis Quaid by saying that he was already dying, the press accused him, a foreigner after all, of breaking up a perfect American home, although it was she who never recovered. America’s girlfriend status. That romance suggested that Crowe’s career could bring a string of juicy flirtations, but it wasn’t. The following was a marriage to singer Danielle Spencer whose most striking moment came after the divorce: a bid at Sotheby’s to pay the costs of the separation, which the actor jokingly called “The Art of Divorce.” At that auction, in addition to works by Australian artists, clocks and guitars, we discovered that Crowe owned a pair of life-size props horses of Gladiator, a shell of its passage through Cinderella Man, a pair of dueling pistols from the 18th century and – what was more to talk about – the skull of a mosasaur from the late Cretaceous period that he bought from his friend Leonardo DiCaprio.

A touch of eccentricity in a life far less extravagant than her star status might lead one to expect. He defines himself as a guy who does what he likes between film and film: returning to his ranch to see his mares give birth. “It is written that Russell Crowe travels in his own Egyptian cotton sheets”, the actor complained in Rolling Stone. “And of course, by telling you, I’m getting it all rolling again. What the heck is Egyptian cotton and why would I travel with my own sheets? A sheet is a damn sheet, friend ”.

On January 9, a Twitter user wrote: “Many people complain of lack of sleep during the pandemic. I can recommend Master and commander, starring the normally captivating Russell Crowe. I have never exceeded ten minutes. You are welcome. And thank you Russell. “

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The tweet in which he tagged the actor could have happened without pain or glory, like most of the bile that spills in that social network, but Crowe feels a true veneration for the Peter Weir film and did not need the armor of Máximo Décimo Meridio to jump into the sand: “That’s the problem with kids these days. Lack of concentration. Peter Weir’s movie is brilliant. An epic, accurate, and detailed story of loyalty to the empire and service, regardless of cost. Featuring incredible photography by Russell Boyd and a majestic soundtrack. Definitely an adult movie. ” That led to a conversation of millennials against baby boomers (ignoring the fact that Ian McNabb, the author of the tweet criticized by the actor, is actually a 60-year-old British musician).

Crowe is less willing to talk when it comes to his weight. In 2019, after gaining enough pounds to play Fox News mogul Roger Ailes on the show The loudest voice (which Movistar + premiered in Spain and still maintains), declared to Entertainment Weekly: “I have decided to stop talking about how I physically prepare for a role. Because in the end that preparation occupies the entire article. And that’s boring. The math of how you get to a place isn’t half as fun as what you did at the end when you got there. “

The actor is about to release the horror film The Georgetown Project and in 2022 the expected one will arrive Thor: Love and Thunder. What will it look like in them? We can see it, but no one can discuss it with him. Perhaps the wisest choice in an industry still obsessed with physique is to outright refuse to talk about it. And that Russell Crowe has never been one to shut up.

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