Source: The Bulletin (Australian weekly newsmagazine no longer in print)
February 4, 2004
Interview with Bruce Beresford
Beresford cavils at the H-word, claiming it's really no more horrific there than here; it all depends on who you work with. "Who you get into bed with" is what he actually says, although I don't think it's literal. It's the fun thing about talking with Beresford. In an industry where truths are told and gossip retailed only behind people's backs, he is unusually colourful and emphatic in his opinions.
Australian actor Toni Collette, for instance, who was put forward by the studio recently for a movie he was casting, he describes as a ham. "She makes Bette Davis look positively restrained. I wouldn't know how to direct someone who acts like that." As for her award-winning turn in Japanese Story: "If you're going to have an actress who can only roll her eyes and grind her teeth, you shouldn't shoot her in close up. You should shoot her from 500 yards away."
Nicole Kidman, he thinks, is a gifted actress and a huge star, if not so very versatile. "In a film such as The Human Stain, where she's playing a cleaning lady, that performance is ludicrous, she's horribly miscast, it doesn't work at all ... but if you get a film such as The Others, there's an essential coldness in her character that seems to work very well."
Russell Crowe? "Sensational .... the best, the most convincing actor I've ever seen. When Russell Crowe is in a film, he's what you want to see. When he's off the screen, you can't wait until he comes back."
Unlike Tom Cruise. "He's always out-acted; everybody in a film is better than he is. I always feel he's more interested in his hairdo than his role." Or, perhaps, his teeth?
Source: Daily Variety
February 04, 2003
'Cinderella' fellas make formal date
Russell Crowe will star for director Ron Howard in "Cinderella Man," a Universal and Miramax co-production set for a mid-November start date.
Imagine's Brian Grazer will produce and screenwriter Akiva Goldsman will come aboard for a rewrite.
Howard, Grazer and Goldsman won Oscars for "A Beautiful Mind" and Crowe was a nominee.
Crowe will play Jim Braddock, a Depression-em fighter who became a folk hero, rising through the ranks to defeat heavyweight champ Max Baer in a 15-round slugfest in 1935.
Script, originated by Cliff Hollingsworth and rewritten by Charlie Mitchell, was originally set up at U by Penny Marshall, who'll be involved in a producing capacity. Ben Affleck was attached to star for director Billy Bob Thornton, who got Miramax involved because that studio had an option on him as a director.
That package was KO'd and Lasse Hallstrom signed to do the film with Crowe, only to ankle when the picture was delayed so Crowe could first star for Peter Weir in Fox's "Master and Commander." Fox brought on U and Miramax as financing partners as part of that exchange.
Meanwhile, Crowe and Howard were looking for a film to do together after "A Beautiful Mind," and the director liked Braddock's story.
The pieces fell into place recently. Universal will hold domestic rights and Miramax will handle foreign, with the studios financing the film 50/50 and splitting a single pot. U production prexy Scott Stuber will supervise production with Miramax production co-prexys Meryl Poster and Bob Osher.
Howard and Grazer are currently prepping the Revolution-based Western "The Missing" with Tommy Lee Jones and Cate Blanchett, with shooting to begin in New Mexico in March. He'll then segue immediately to the boxing pic and perhaps follow with the Universal project "Downtown," a reteam with "Apollo 13" star Tom Hanks. "American Beauty" scribe Alan Ball originated that drama, with Scott Frank rewriting the script for Playtone.
Crowe accomplishes his desire to squeeze in a film before getting a rematch with his "Gladiator" director Ridley Scott on "Tripoli," the Fox period drama that had its start date postponed for a year and now begins production in early 2004.
Crowe will follow by making his directorial debut on the Intermedia-based WWII film "The Long Green Shore," based on the novel by John Hepworth. Crowe will star in the film and produce with Mark Johnson. The producers have a draft by Michael Petroni and expect to start work sometime next year.