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The Surprising Reason Renee Zellweger Allegedly Demanded A Body Double On Cinderella Man

Russell Crowe's status as one of his generation's best actors is well-earned. From Gladiator and A Beautiful Mind to Les Misérables and The Nice Guys, the Academy Award-winning thespian's commitment to the craft has always been apparent on the screen.

Over the years, Crowe has been so intent on providing an authentic experience that he has built up an impressive list of injuries while performing his own stunts. As reported by the Daily Mail in 2016, he eventually had to curb this can-do mentality after having allowed himself to take so much abuse. For the record, he counts two torn Achilles tendons and what he described as a "disintegrating hip" among the consequences of his dedication to creating cinematic magic.

When they worked together on 2005's Cinderella Man, however, it was Crowe who apparently put his co-star — two-time Oscar winner Renée Zellweger — through the wringer with his process. In performing the role of legendary boxer James J. Braddock — a world heavyweight champion during the 1930s — Crowe is said to have given a too-real-for-comfort depiction of a prize fighter after having gone the distance. Specifically, he displayed an oft-overlooked trait of hard-working athletes who are in the midst of expelling every ounce of themselves for their sport.

That "commitment" allegedly resulted in Zellweger going to director Ron Howard with a demand that was completely understandable given the circumstances.

Renee Zellweger couldn't take Russell Crowe's B.O. in Cinderella Man

As part of her role opposite Russell Crowe as James J. Braddock's wife, Mae, Renée Zellweger was required to get up close and personal with the actor in a number of scenes. However,  according to the National Enquirer, Crowe's breath and body odor were so bad on set that she was left with little recourse but to hit up Ron Howard as a voice of reason in an effort to improve Crowe's hygiene. 

Unfortunately, any conversation Howard may have had with Crowe on Zellweger's behalf didn't improve the situation. The stench apparently prevailed and, per the report, she subsequently refused to shoot any of the film's remaining love scenes. As a result, a body double was reportedly used for scripted love scenes between James and Mae, with the camera shooting over the shoulder of Zellweger's stand-in.

The Enquirer noted that a public relations rep for the actress claimed that the story was "not true at all." However, Crowe was similarly accused of not showering while working on the 2014 biblical epic Noah.

It would seem that Crowe isn't the only one suffering for his art.