Source: Women's Day Magazine (Australian) via Russell: Something to Crowe About
February 26, 1996
Russell Crowe has banned himself from casinos. After a disastrous night on the town with high rolling multi-millionaires Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman, during which he lost thousands of dollars, Russell declared a self-imposed life-time ban on gambling.
"I'm a shocker." says Russell. "I blew $6,700 in one night and there are no words to describe now stupid I felt."
Russell's horrendous evening began at a dinner party in Los Angeles with his close friends Tom and Nicole.
"After dinner Tom said, 'Does anyone want to go to Vegas?' so we all drove to the airport and got on the plane," says Russell, wincing at the memory.
"In America they provide free drinks if you are at the (gaming) table, which is the biggest con job in the world. I was winning for the first hour-and-a-half and then we got sillier and sillier around the roulette table and the next thing you know it was...damn!"
"Tom was spending up and I thought, 'Hang on a minute...we don't get the same pay packet..what am I doing?' I stay away from casinos now because I do get carried away."
Russell may have learnt his lesson, but for Tom and Nicole, gambling is just another adrenalin-pumping hobby they enjoy together. The couple are regulars at the gaming tables in Las Vegas, betting $1000 and more on each hand. Nicole admits she carries a blackjack "strategy" card in her handbag whenever they go out, ready for those occasions when Tom decides on a whim to fire up the Lear jet for a few hours in Vegas.
Wherever they travel, Tom and Nicole seek out the casinos, taking a couple of bodyguards to keep away the admiring fans.
At Jupiter's Casino on the Gold Coast recently, Tom blew nearly $50,000 in just 45 minutes in the plush high rollers room during a bucks' weekend. By all accounts he was cheerful in defeat, waving aside the condolences of his fellow gamblers.
Hello Magazine (UK)
February 26, 2002
Oscar Favourite Russell Crowe
Interview: Isabelle Caron
The actor winning acclaim for his role as a tortured genius tells of the pleasure his own gift brings.
There's no pleasing some people. Roused from his hotel room in Berlin to be told he'd scooped his third Oscar nomination in as many years, Russell Crowe surprised a restive press conference with a confession that he still wasn't quite satisfied with his acting career.
" It hasn't changed anything about the way I work," he said of this latest accolade. " I'm still unsatisfied to a large degree, but I think that's a healthy thing to be as an actor."
Any other actor would have been positively smug. Few others could even hope to pull in the crowds at the multiplexes for a movie bout maths and madness.
Then, few others have Russell Crowe's breadth of appeal. Widely tipped to win his second Oscar for his portrayal of schizophrenic mathematical genius and Nobel Laureate John Nash in A Beautiful Mind, the New Zealand-born star has come to be regarded as one of cinema's top leading men after his Oscar-winning performance in Gladiator. Fans have missed a heartbeat ogling the ruggedly handsome warrior Maximus' athletic thighs, leading ladies have fallen for Russell's easy blend of machismo and sensitivity, and critics have praised the 37-year-old actor's uncanny, chameleon-like knack of slipping into any role he takes on.
And they've been a mixed bag - brutalised city cop, paranoid scientist, neo-nazi skinhead and gay plumber. The industry has been as kind as the critics, allowing Russell to command fees of up to 14 million pounds a movie, and his choice of the best scripts.
"I've got a bag, a passport, and if when I read the script it gives me goose bumps, then off I go wherever the work takes me," says the actor, whose laddish attitude, alternatively surly and charming, truculent and teasing, has set him apart from so many of his squeaky clean fellow actors.
His private life is also at odds with what passes for normal in Hollywood. Between shoots he unwinds on his cattle ranch north of Sydney, or tours with is own rock band, Thirty Odd Foot of Grunts.
But recently he's been spending time with Australian actress Danielle Spencer, an old flame he's currently rekindling back into his life. The pair from Down Under turned up at the Golden Globe Awards together last month when Russell got the gong for Best Actor for bringing the tormented mathematician to the big screen.
Hello: Did you meet John Nash while making the movie?
RC: "No. It wasn't possible."
Hello: How were you able to make him so real?
RC: "I always start by taking a physical attitude towards the character. In this case it was his long nails. His fingers displayed such grace when he wrote those mathematical equations on the blackboard. That was the starting point for me in realising the character. There isn't any footage of him as a young man in Princeton, or any recording of his voice from that period, so I chose to view video evidence of people with schizophrenia. That helped me a great deal to understand what Nash had been going through."
Hello: How well do you understand his maths?
RC: " I'm not a mathematician by any stretch of the imagination. I do crossword puzzles and play chess. I have to admit, though, in chess sometimes I get beaten by six-year-olds.
Hello: There's some controversy surrounding A Beautiful Mind, in that it's not a completely accurate representation of Nash's life.
RC: "It's not an absolute biography, but more about the spirit of his life. He is a genius who went mad but who won a Nobel prize in 1994. His work in game theory has become one of the most influential ideas of the 20th century. But in reading the script, what was more important to me, was the deep nurturing and caring love story between Nash and his wife, Alicia, which spanned 50 years."
Hello: What do you hope the public takes away from this film?
RC: "It's such an extraordinary movie, that , hopefully, it will shine a little bit of light on the humanity of the people who go through this mental disease. Schizophrenics are still "normal"-they fall in love, have babies, and want to achieve things. The movie's also very entertaining, but if we can entertain and inform at the same time, I think that's the best thing we could have done."
Hello: What memories are you left with from making the film?
RC: "When I look back on this experience, it's not the complications and intricacies of my character I remember, but the joy of the collaboration with the people who worked with me. Jennifer Connolly, who plays my wife, was amazing. I think she gives her best performance to date. Ron Howard is a director I've always admired, and he certainly deserves all of the accolades the movie's getting. It was also incredible to be with Akiva Goldsman, the screenwriter."
Hello: Did playing such a psychologically disturbed character take its toll on you?
RC: "It turned me into an insomniac. I couldn't sleep during the week at all. I really can't explain it. Having sleep deprivation led to me having nightmares, which isn't surprising when you start to examine the psychology of this fellow I was portraying. After all, John Nash went through hell when his intellect coincided with the disease of schizophrenia and he could no longer rationally tell what was real and what wasn't. For a man of such genius it was devastating."
Hello: If your character's great gift is for maths, yours is for acting. Is it instinctive?
RC: "Yes, it is. You're either able to do it, or you're not. Of course there are things you need to learn - such as your relationship with the camera and how to maximise that. I've learned my craft by watching, reading, talking. But the essence of being an actor was in me when I was born. And I've never had an acting teacher because I don't believe in them."
Hello: You've won numerous awards, and you've been nominated for an Oscar again this year. Do these accolades still mean a lot to you?
RC: "Stardom is not what I'm looking for, but I feel such a passion for my work that any award that comes from it is a privilege."
Hello: Do you remember how you felt the night you won an Oscar for Gladiator?
RC: "Yes. It was like the earth sank under me. I'll never forget that evening. It was definitely one of the finest moments in my life. I also remember taking my mum later that evening to meet Elton John. It was something she'd always wanted to do. And Elton was so nice and gracious to us."
Hello: You're quite the musician yourself.
RC: "I've been making records for a long time. My first album came out in 1982. Writing songs is an incredible creative expression. When I play a character in a movie, I'm serving the character and the director. I'm working on someone else's vision. But when I go out on stage, and there's a room full of people who've paid to hear me, it's my responsibility to give them a good time. Music is like walking on a tightrope."
Hello: Would you ever give up acting to pursue a career in music?
RC: "If I didn't act, I wouldn't be a complete person. I wouldn't be fulfilled spiritually nor be totally happy. But if I didn't play my music, I'd also feel deprived. Both are very important."
Hello: You were going to star in Flora Plum, a film to be directed by Jodie Foster. Unfortunately, you damaged your shoulder and the film has been delayed.
RC: "Jodie's such a fantastic woman and we have a lot in common. She, like me, started to work in the entertainment industry when she was very young. And not only does she impress me from the point of view of her acting performances, she also impresses me with the dignity with which she has conducted herself throughout her career. What I love about Jodie is that she's never satisfied. She's still challenging herself as an actor and director. She's also incredibly fun to be with."
Hello: You also admire Nicole Kidman, don't you?
RC: "Nicole is a good friend of mine, has been for ten years, and I hope she will remain so for the next hundred years, or however long we live."
Hello: How important is marriage to you? You're always so vague about that subject.
RC: "Because even though marriage is a possibility, I feel I have to be patient and wait until a situation arises where my work and love will meet. I want to succeed at both. And even though I've never been engaged or married, I can tell you that when I do get married, I hope to enjoy the same relationship my parents have had through 40 years of being together. They're amazing. MY mother and father are the ones you'll find at a party cuddling off in a corner somewhere. It's really cute, even though embarrassing at times."
Hello: And do you dream about having children?
RC: "I love kids and I want them some day. But not a lot of them! I'd rather have only a few children. That way I can spend a great deal of concentration on their well being."
Hello: At the moment, your work often takes you away from your family. Do you ever resent that?
RC: "It's true, I never spend enough time with the people I love, or in the places I love. But it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. One reason being that acting has given me the opportunity to look after my family financially. By living on my farm, my mom and dad have a nice place to hang out. But don't get me wrong, I've never worked for money. Just for the pleasure of acting.
Hello: Yes, but you have to admit, money is an enjoyable by-product of your work.
RC: "I don't hang onto my money long enough to enjoy it! I've got an open one-way road that sends my money out of my bank account and into the hands of my friends and family."
Hello: Does that mean you'll never be very rich?
RC: "I learned long ago that giving your money feels more wonderful than keeping it all to yourself. Happiness is all about sharing."