Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Russell Crowe Details That Fans Will Be Entertained By

Compared to others of his ilk in Hollywood, Russell Crowe has that one elusive quality that money cannot buy, no script can deliver, and no director can cultivate: presence! Whether he's playing Hando in "Romper Stomper," Maximus in "Gladiator," John Nash in "A Beautiful Mind," Jim Braddock in "Cinderella Man," or Ben Wade in "3:10 to Yuma," Crowe has a habit of filling every scene he's in with a magnetic presence that is akin to a force of nature. Love or hate him — and he's always been something of a complex figure — only a fool would deny that Crowe has that certain something that translates well to the big screen.

Dynamic, engaging, and uncompromising, Crowe was once one of the biggest box office draws on the planet. His star may not shine like it once did, but the old fire still burns bright, and as his cameo as Zeus in "Thor: Love and Thunder" proves, he still knows how to make an explosive entrance. He may have a habit of courting controversy and hitting the headlines like a sledgehammer, but as Crowe once told GQ, "I absolutely have — in my mind, in my heart, in my being — the credibility required to be a serious artist." His determination to "do the nuts and bolts of the job emotionally" and to take the audience on a journey has resulted in a portfolio of performances that will stand the test of time. Here are some interesting facts about the actor behind the roles.

Before Hollywood beckoned, Russell Crowe was a musician called Russ Le Roq

Whilst earning worldwide acclaim as an actor, Russell Crowe was also chipping away at the coal face of rock stardom as the guitarist and lead singer in 30 Odd Foot of Grunts. Although long since disbanded, the Grunts were not exactly darlings of the music media. Exclaim once wrote that Crowe sang like a curious hybrid of Blue Rodeo and Bon Jovi and delivers, "at least one embarrassing lyric per song." However, Crowe's tenure in the Grunts was not his first stab at forging a music career for himself. Prior to treading the boards as a young thespian, one of Australia's most famous sons could be found singing under the name of Russ Le Roq with his band Roman Antix.

Appearing on the Aussie pop show Shazam in the mid-'80s and looking like a rockabilly new romantic, Crowe busted out some serious Elvis moves in a song named "What's the Difference." An earnest and fresh-faced Crowe later suggested to presenter Phillipa Dann that "you can feel the commitment" in the track. Crowe would later reveal to GQ that he had harbored musical ambitions since he was a 7-year-old when he first began playing guitar and writing songs. Crowe recalled that he was a keen Elvis fan and tried to channel the King until he remembered being disappointed seeing the 1973 live broadcast of Elvis's Hawaii gig that was beamed worldwide. Crowe said, "You weren't getting breathless with him; he was just getting breathless all by himself." Ouch!

His first professional acting gig was in The Rocky Horror Picture Show

With a music career that wasn't exactly setting the world on fire, Russell Crowe changed tactics and focused on acting. The switch paid off in 1988 when he landed his first professional acting gig, aged 24, in "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." The theatrical production may be a world removed from the alpha male roles that would later become Crowe's stock in trade, but that's acting folks. Crowe played the roles of Dr. Scott and Eddie, the latter being a role made famous by Meat Loaf in Jim Sharman's film version.

Playing sax and belting out such sing-along-classics as "Hot Patootie — Bless My Soul" proved just the ticket for Crowe who had a whale of a time showcasing his musical abilities and refining his acting chops. It was as the wheelchair-bound and white-haired Dr. Everett Scott that Crowe really let it all cut loose. Dressed in thigh-high suspenders and signing in a dubious German accent, Crowe embraced the intoxicating freedom of the stage with both arms.

He rejected Wolverine role because he didn't want to be known as Mr. Wolf

Let's make no bones about it: Russell Crowe would have made a cracking Wolverine. Logan is the sort of anti-social loner whose surly and brooding energy would fit an actor such as Crowe like an exquisitely tailored glove. Yet as the Aussie actor once pointed out in an interview with GQ, "I don't think there needs to be another bloke who wants to be a superhero." And so when the call of the wild came to play Wolverine, it went unheeded by Crowe. The Daily Mail reported that the actor told Nova's Fitzy & Wippa that although "X-Men" director Brian Singer was a good friend of his and applying the pressure to take the role, "it didn't feel right at the time, plus I've never been a comic person."

Yet, the main reason Crowe opted to not grow his sideburns and adopt the peculiar haircut was that he didn't want to "become like Mr. Wolf Man." Crowe elaborated, "If you remember, Maximus has a wolf at the center of his cuirass, and he has a wolf as his companion. So I said no, "cause I didn't want to be 'wolfy the general' then 'wolfy the other bloke.'" Keen to help a fellow Aussie fellow out, though, Crowe recommended Hugh Jackman for the role he went on to make iconic. Jackman explained to Entertainment Weekly that Crowe is, "incredibly smart and generous," and he owes him a lot because, "Two of the biggest roles I've ever had in my life, he turned down — and suggested me for them." In addition to Wolverine, Crowe turned down the role of the drover in Baz Luhrmann's "Australia."

Russell Crowe has a special bond with horses

The tales of leading men and ladies developing a solid bond with their four-legged co-stars are as old as the Hollywood Hills. Actors from Roy Rogers to Robert Redford all formed deep attachments with the steeds they made movies with. NME reported that Viggo Mortensen purchased three horses used in the "Lord of the Rings" movies, and in a GQ profile, Brendan Fraser revealed he rescued a horse that was being picked on by other horses on the set of "Texas Rising." In an interview with Page Six, Liam Neeson revealed that the horse he used in the Coen brothers' "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs" recognized him from a previous Western they had made together.

Although Neeson's revelation was greeted with scorn in some quarters, Russell Crowe voiced his support on Twitter by tweeting, "This is absolutely true. There's a horse, George, who I gave the speech in the forest in Gladiator on. Years later he was on the set of Robin Hood and we would have a chat every day. Same with the white horse, Rusty, in Robin Hood. We chatted again on Les Mis. Lifelong friends." Earlier this year, a heartbroken Crowe took to Twitter to reveal that his horse, Honey, who had appeared with him in "The Water Diviner" had died at the age of 29 (via Yahoo!). Crowe wrote, "Champion cutting horse, mother of two, movie star...my amazing Honey has passed away. She spent nearly 22 years of her life living with me."

There was once a terrorist plot to kidnap Russell Crowe

A terrorist plan to kidnap a Hollywood actor sounds like the premise for a blockbuster straight out of the 1990s. Yet, believe it or not, in the aftermath of the success of "Gladiator," Russell Crowe was allegedly a target for Osama Bin Laden's terrorist organization al Qaeda (via Vanity Fair). Crowe told GQ that his rise to prominence as one of Hollywood's hottest properties made him a prime target for a cultural destabilization plot to take out "iconographic Americans," which the Aussie actor deemed ironic. The F.B.I. was told of the threat to kidnap Crowe in 2001 from a French policewoman who had supposedly uncovered secret recordings. Extra security accompanied Crowe on the set of "Beautiful Mind" and "Master and Commander: Far Side of the World." By 2005, the threat was deemed to be over, and question marks were hanging over its initial validity.

Crowe added that from his perspective the situation was never resolved satisfactorily and said, " I think it was a bit odd, but if you want to kidnap me, you'd better bring a mouth gag. I'll be talking you out of the essential philosophies you believe in the first 24 hours." In 2015, Crowe looked back on the episode during a Guardian interview and recalled, "I remember going to the Golden Globes and having, like, 16 security guys with me. I don't even know why. They wouldn't give me any details. And of course, people were like: 'Look at him, he thinks he's f***ing Elvis.' And then one day they just weren't there anymore."

Russell Crowe is a diehard Leeds United Fan

Although growing up in a country where rugby and Australian rules football are more popular than soccer, Russell Crowe has been a fan of "the beautiful game" since he was a kid. Yet, he didn't choose to pin his colors to the mast of a flashy football club such as Barcelona, Manchester United, or Inter Milan; he swore his allegiance to lowly Leeds United and remains a hardcore fan of the "Whites" to this day. Crowe told BBC Radio 5, "I've followed Leeds since I was a little kid. I used to come home from sport in the afternoon, me and my brother, and watch Match of the Day. We're talking about a period of time in Australia when we had very few TV channels." Crowe's brother opted to support Liverpool, and Crowe picked Leeds.

In 2015, Crowe, who did the voiceover for Leeds documentary, "Take Me Home" (via Leeds Live), teased his fans on Twitter by asking half-jokingly if he should buy his beloved club and help turn its fortunes around. His question was met with an overwhelmingly positive response, from fans who were tired of their team not living up to past glories and languishing in the lower divisions. They felt the celebrity endorsement and financial clout a star such as Crowe could bring to the table would be invaluable in their return to form. Unfortunately, Crowe didn't have the time to make such a huge commitment and explained to BBC, "I love the club. I want nothing but success for the club, but like many other Leeds fans, probably, in fact, 99.9 percent, I'm getting a little impatient."

He owns an Australian rugby team

Perhaps the biggest reason why Russell Crowe didn't want to get involved in buying Leeds United is because almost a decade earlier he had brought the Australian rugby league team he had supported as a child: the South Sydney Rabbitohs. In an interview with BBC Radio 5, Crowe explained that the Souths had fallen from the highest highs to the lowest lows before he got involved. He described them as "perennial losers" and added, "So nine years ago I put my checkbook where my mouth is and brought the club." Crowe said he changed everything at the club from the culture, the coaching staff, the merchandise, the player roster, and the club's relations with the community until they were champions once more.

The incredible transformation taught Crowe that a club's success isn't always as dependent on financial backing as it is on the culture and ethos within the club. Aware of the amount of time and hard work it took to turn the tide for Rabbitohs, he just didn't have the energy or motivation to travel that road again with Leeds United. The Guardian reported that during his time at the helm of the Souths, Crowe recruited a mixed-matched gang of celebrity fans to the cause such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Snoop Dogg, Chris Hemsworth, Ben Affleck, and the Dalai Lama. Even Tom Cruise was spotted at the home of the Rabbitohs wearing the colors of the Souths and having the time of his life. Crowe's financial and emotional commitment to his childhood club turned them into a powerhouse to be reckoned with.

Russell Crowe was arrested whilst filming Romper Stomper

Playing the leader of a gang of neo-Nazi skinheads in 1992's "Romper Stomper," Russell Crowe showed the world he was an actor to watch. HIs character Hando exudes menace and violence with every gesture and word, and Crowe' adds a level of nuanced complexity to a portrayal that in lesser hands could be very one-dimensional. Reflecting on his breakthrough role, Crowe told GQ that by reading "Mein Kampf," listening to Wagner, and falling asleep to white noise he was able to keep himself in the strange and off-balanced place he needed to be to get under Hando's skin. Crowe said, "A guy like Hando is abhorrent to me — the philosophy that governs his life is something that disgusts me completely — so that was an interesting learning experience."

In pursuit of authenticity, Crowe and other actors would take to the pubs around Melbourne with their shaved heads and bother boy boots. On one memorable night, Crowe and eight others were arrested for looking like they were going to start trouble. The actor explained, "Two constables came out and grabbed me and said, 'Who do you think you are?' And all that sort of stuff. And I said, 'Mate, I'll tell you exactly who we are — we're a group of actors, and we're doing a movie where we're playing neo-Nazi skinheads.'" Unimpressed by Crowe's dramatic credentials, the police sergeant simply replied, "Is that right? Well, I hope you're a method actor, son, because you're really going to enjoy this. Put him in the f***ing cell!"

He has an overblown reputation for being difficult and courting controversy

At one point, "Brand Crowe" was deemed a little toxic due to a number of controversial incidents the actor had been allegedly involved in. The most famous one was the phone-throwing incident of 2005 when Crowe was arrested for allegedly assaulting a hotel clerk with a telephone in the early hours (via New York Times). Despite pleading guilty at the time, Newsy reported that Crowe denied the assault on Sunday Night nine years later and insisted, "I never touched him mate, never laid a finger on him." In 2016, there was the notorious spat involving Azealia Banks. TMZ reported that Crowe physically manhandled the rapper out of a party. Banks also insisted that Crowe called her a racial slur and choked her. However, eyewitnesses discredited this account and alleged that Banks' erratic and threatening behavior was the reason Crowe escorted her out.

Crowe's reputation for being difficult and hard to handle is something he credits to being "extremely sensitive," per Business Standard. He elaborated, "That's probably where some of my negative stuff comes from. I'm a little bit intuitive, so I know from a handshake whether someone means me good or ill." Reflecting on his image, Crowe told GQ that even though he really doesn't do any of that "Russell Crowe brand-name s**t!" the media "just write about it anyway." He added he was reading an article called something like "The 11 points of motherf***dom of Russell Crowe" and revealed that nine of the points, "were completely untrue, had never happened, but had been over time reprinted so much that they were now folkloric."

Russell Crowe once allegedly threatened to kill a producer with his bare hands

Actors by nature can be a temperamental lot and are prone to lash out when they feel disrespected or aggrieved, but threatening to kill a producer with your bare hands is a line in the sand even the most egotistical and volatile star shouldn't cross. The Guardian reported that according to Nicole LaPorte's book, "The Men Who Would Be King: An Almost Epic Tale of Moguls, Movies and a Company called DreamWorks," when Russell Crowe was filming "Gladiator" he called seasoned producer Branko Lustig in the early hours and snarled, "You motherf***er. I will kill you with my bare hands."

Allegedly, the 77-year-old producer had gotten on the wrong side of Crowe because he was not willing to pay the actor's assistants what Crowe thought was a reasonable salary. In the wake of the threat, Lustig called Dreamworks boss Steven Spielberg requesting to quit the production. The book also described how Cowe was originally unhappy with the famous "I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next" line from "Gladiator." Eventually agreeing with director Ridley Scott to speak it, Crowe reportedly said after the final take, "It was s**t, but I'm the greatest actor in the world and I can make even s**t sound good." Director Curtis Hanson, who worked with Crowe on "L.A. Confidential," explained to Variety, "Russell has a reputation of being difficult, and what I speculate is that he's difficult when he's not trusting."

Michael Jackson had a habit of prank-calling Russell Crowe

Although his tough guy persona might simply be a Hollywood fabrication, you wouldn't want to rub Russell Crowe up the wrong way. He carries a certain stand-offish air and simmers with the suggestion that he could erupt like a volcano at short notice. Yet, it didn't deter Michael Jackson from regularly prank-calling the Hollywood actor just for kicks. Crowe told "The Graham Norton Show" that the late "King of Pop" got into a habit of finding out what hotels Crowe was staying in around the world. He would then ask to be connected to his room and put on funny voices. Crowe added, "I've never met him, and the thing is, the first couple of people I said it to, I didn't want to sound like I was insane right? Michael prank-called me today!"

Crowe added that people who knew the late singer well said Jackson prank-called people all the time. The actor then admitted he used to make prank calls himself as a young boy. "I used to pretend I was a radio announcer and like give people prizes. They would get so excited," confessed Crowe, who said he would then hang up. According to Crowe, Jackson would always start his prank call with a gruff and authoritative voice, "like he was the hotel management and there was some kind of problem." However, if Crowe got irritated, Jackson would begin to giggle and say, "It's Michael!"

He sold personal movie memorabilia to finance his divorce

Apart from having their faces blown up on billboards and names which are familiar to billions, Hollywood stars are usually associated with having millions of dollars in the bank. You don't think of them struggling to finance the big things in life like mortgages, their kids' education, or a costly divorce. However, in 2018, Russell Crowe helped to finance his divorce from his wife of nine years, Danielle Spencer, by auctioning movie memorabilia from films he had appeared in. Vogue reported that "The Art of Divorce" auction saw Crowe sell the breastplate he wore in "Gladiator" for $125,000 and his "Master and Commander" outfit fetched a cool $115,000. Alongside items from his movies, Crowe also offloaded various guitars, watches, and a Mercedes.

Held at Sotheby's in Sydney on Crowe's 54th birthday and wedding anniversary, the auction raised an estimated $3.7 million. Following the auction, Crowe posted on Twitter, "Not a bad hourly rate for a 5-hour shift." Reflecting on what he considered the cleansing element of the auction, Crowe told Good Morning Britain, "Getting to this point with the divorce, and no matter how amicable a split is, you've still got to unwind things at a deep level."

He once donated thousands to help a youngster attend drama school

Acting transformed Russell Crowe's life. The dramatic arts are something he's deadly serious about and fiercely believes in. Always one to put his money where his mouth is, in 2020, Crowe stumped up over $3,000 to help a Yorkshire student pay his deposit on course fees for the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (via The Yorkshire Post). Harry Pritchard from Harrogate put a call out on Twitter to help him finance his studies and a certain Australian not only donated the deposit but retweeted Harry's plea. Crowe wrote, "There's a lot of plans and dreams being shattered these days...Will Harry succeed? He comes from Harrogate, home of Yorkshire Tea and I'm hoping he's L.U.F.C." Crowe's endorsement triggered a tidal wave of support, and pretty soon Pritchard had the funds needed to pursue his dreams.

Two years later, Crowe the philanthropist was once again making headlines when he donated over $5000 to help an independent bookshop in the UK stay afloat. The BBC reported that Norwich's Bookbugs and Dragon Tales was struggling amidst financial uncertainty and launched an online appeal for donations. That same night, they noticed a huge donation under the name Russell Ira Crowe. Bookshop owner Leanne Fridd said, "It's definitely him. 100%, we know the connection is there, and we had seen the person (who knows him) had retweeted it. I have heard that this is what he is like — he is really supportive and just wants to make a difference. It's bonkers."

He slammed Robert De Niro and George Clooney for doing TV advertisements

Celebrity endorsements and product placements are the nature of the beast in Hollywood. If a company's something to sell, then an actor is the perfect tool. Not only can they sell a product convincingly but a world-famous individual who is often associated with effortlessly cool and larger-than-life characters on the big screen can do wonders for the most mundane brand. However, if you're thinking of asking Russell Crowe to sell the effectiveness of your toothbrush or push the feel-good factor of your sugary soda, forget about it! The man doesn't believe in selling out or using his fame to push a product and line his products. In an interview with GQ, he even took potshots at actors such as George Clooney and Robert De Niro.

Crowe explained, "I don't use my celebrity to make a living. I don't do ads for suits in Spain like George Clooney, or cigarettes in Japan like Harrison Ford." He added, "To me, it's kind of sacrilegious — it's a complete contradiction of the f***ing social contract you have with your audience. I mean Robert De Niro's advertising American Express." Yet when Crowe was an aspiring actor it was a different story. The Daily Mail reported that as a new kid on the block, Crowe appeared on television for both Coca-Cola and State Bank ATMs. To his credit, Crowe explained that the commercials were a convenient bridge to his work in the film industry and was at pains to point out, "I have yet to use my fame, to do an endorsement commercial, which is a different thing. I seem to be quite out of step with the times."

Russell Crowe almost played Aragon in the Lord of the Rings trilogy

Although you'd probably cast Russell Crowe as more of a Boromir than an Aragorn, the man from down under nearly took the "Lord of the Rings" role that made Viggo Mortensen famous. In an interview with Howard Stern, Crowe confirmed that not only was he head-hunted to play Middle Earth's most dashing hero, but he was also offered a gross percentage of all profits from the film (via The Hollywood Reporter). However, Crowe explain declined to pick up the sword and protect the hobbits because he felt director Peter Jackson was being pressured by Warner Bros. to pick Crowe for the role.

Crowe explained that he believed Jackson "was forced into talking to me because there was a moment in time when everyone wanted me in everything." Crowe added that the director appeared reluctant on the phone and was seemingly unaware of the movies Crowe had done up until that point. Crowe added, "My instinct was that he had somebody else in mind, which turned out to be Viggo, and he should be allowed to hire the actor who he wants."

The famous Aussie is not actually Australian

Russell Crowe is considered to be one of Australia's finest exports, and in 2004 was, alongside fellow Oscar winner Nicole Kidman, named one of the country's national treasures (via Wales Online). Here's the rub, though: Although he might be as iconic in Australia as a kangaroo or wallaby, Crowe was actually born in New Zealand. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Crowe explained he left the land of his birth, alongside his family, when he was four years old. Although he grew up in Sydney and considers himself Australian to the core, Crowe is still not officially recognized as an Australian citizen because he spent so many months a year away from his adopted country whilst filming from 2000 to 2002 he also fails to be eligible for automatic citizenship.

To apply for citizenship, Crowe has to put pen to paper and list what his future contributions to the country will consist of. The actor has yet to comply with what he believes is bureaucratic nonsense and said, "Between my day job and the other jobs that I've done, things like South Sydney Rabbitohs and stuff like that, I think it is pretty clear where my heart lies. Maybe just save all the time and send me a letter." The Guardian reported that in an interview with The Radio Times, he explained, "I've been voted one of Australia's 50 national treasures. I've even had my face on an Australian stamp, the only non-Australian to do so, apart from the Queen, of course. It's so, so unreasonable."

Russell Crowe describes himself as quite shy

Although you wouldn't necessarily the word "shy" with Russell Crowe, in an interview with GQ, the actor described himself as, "fundamentally quite shy." Crowe added that he was initially drawn to acting because he found it quite liberating to adopt another persona to overcome his natural shyness. That, and he quickly realized it was the only job he was good at. Although the interviewer pointed out that the large majority of people do not have a perception of Russell Crowe as shy, he explained it's because he's doing the job and in the public eye for so long.

"I did my first acting thing in 1970. Sure, it's very easy for me now to be up-front and open with people, because I've met millions of people in my time, so you kind of get past that," explained Crowe, who added that acting is a "f***ing pr**k of a job," especially when you become a household name. He explained, "People don't understand why your life suddenly changed when, hey, to them it's f***ing 10 bucks at the movies, it's over in a couple of hours. They don't understand the prep, they don't understand the real physical sh*t that you put yourself through."