The Guardian has an interview with Garrard Conley who wrote Boy Erased, and some interesting details about Russell during filming. Excerpts:
Boy Erased has been adapted into a film, due for release this autumn. Directed by Joel Edgerton, it stars Russell Crowe as Conley’s father and Nicole Kidman as his mother. Early last autumn, as filming commenced, a producer called Conley to ask if he knew where Russell Crowe was. “How the fuck would I know where Russell Crowe is?” he replied. “Isn’t he on set?” He wasn’t, as it turned out. Instead, Crowe had taken a private plane to Mountain Home to attend a Baptist service led by Conley’s father. “My dad called up two hours later, and he said: ‘Well, you’ll never guess what just happened,’ and I said, ‘Did Russell Crowe just show up at your church?’” Conley laughs uncomfortably at the memory. “It made a little bit of a scene – it’s a very small town, a lot of people have been on meth,” he says. “And then Russell Crowe comes in with his entourage and sits down. I was told my dad paused in his sermon for about two minutes, before continuing.”
Crowe went to great lengths to study Conley’s father, even coming away from Mountain Home with his lapel pin, a wooden cross from the Galilee, that he wore throughout filming. On set he sent a case of watches to Conley, asking him to select the one his dad might wear.