From Deadline - a long interview with Allen Hughes about lots of directing and personal things. Here is an excerpt with what he had to say about Russell:
DEADLINE: Lumet always had a strong corrupt antagonist. What was the challenge in getting Russell Crowe to sign on? He wasn’t doing a lot of movies at the time.
HUGHES: We had a heavy who is part King Of New York, part Gordon Gekko. It was a challenge to get Russell. We knew we needed a movie star, but Russell’s a different kind of movie star: he’s also a great fucking actor, you know. And there are all these legendary stories about Russell, so I was anxious to sit down with him and see how we would jell. We sat down and I saw the way his mind was working, the zone he was in as he was just getting into crazy physical shape. We went a few rounds and we were so clearly on the same page. There was a kinship there I didn’t expect. And the idea of teaming him with Mark Wahlberg had both of us excited.
DEADLINE: I’ve heard that Russell challenges his directors. True?
HUGHES: I found Russell to be very much like Denzel Washington was on Book Of Eli. As their director, you better know your shit and know what the fuck you’re talking about. You better be on your shit, every day, know what you’re doing all the time and have a point of view. He respects that. If you’re not coming with your A-game and you don’t have a point of view, you’re going to get obliterated. So I didn’t have that problem with him. Wait until you see his performance, man. It is an actor’s actor performance. My man is in a zone right now, and you could see it from the moment he showed up to the set.