Source: Prime TV via a report from Kiwisheila originally appearing at Murph's
May 31, 2006
Interview with Russell Crowe and his cousin Martin Crowe
By Paul Holmes
HOLMES: Well you look very relaxed.
RUSSELL: I am very relaxed.
HOLMES: The last time I saw you, you were not very relaxed.
RUSSELL: When was that?
HOLMES: Oh, God, years ago. You might have been exhausted.
RUSSELL: That's a funny thing, because you normally are in this press situation, when you are very exhausted, doing interview after interview upon the same subject that would drive any rational person insane, but it's nice to have this conversation, without that sort of schedule.
HOLMES: Without having a hundred of them outside waiting to speak to you. Tell me about your farm. I want to know about your farm. How big is it? You've got cattle.
RUSSELL: We run Black Angus. It is non-certified organic. This is the second time we have done the run up to being organic. We hired a bloke who made a mistake with some chemicals at one point, after we had been doing it for three years, so we had to start all over again which was a bit unfortunate.
`Yeah we run Black Angus and our aim is to provide steak as the cleanest food source with a very low fat level and a very high protein level.
HOLMES: You also have trees don't you? Is it Eucalypts?
RUSSELL: Yes, it's Eucalypts - all different types.
HOLMES: Is your farm one block or is it over several blocks.
RUSSELL: There's one big main block which covers a lot of cattle and where all the buildings are. My brother also lives there as well, but then there's two other blocks in that same valley. One we use for growing feed and one for finishing off the cattle.
HOLMES: Martin's most impressed with your cricket ground - what do you call it an oval?
RUSSELL: No it's not an oval. It bears no mathematical relationship to an oval. We just took the flattest area we could find that was on that scale, sort of, and we made that shape of like a trapezoid thing with a couple of corners and an extra angle and a round bit. It's not an oval.
HOLMES: It's got a little pavilion.
RUSSELL: The pavilion's there, yes. It's called the DW Crowe field actually. It's named after Martin's father David William Crowe.
HOLMES: To whom you were very close.
HOLMES: Yeah, yeah, and the chapel of course.
RUSSELL: (grins), yes.
HOLMES: Why are you laughing.
RUSSELL: I'm not laughing. It's just a beautiful building and it's a beautiful building to be inside.
HOLMES: It's a wonderful thing to have.
RUSSELL: My brother got married there first. There was a little wooden chapel there, but when I was getting ready to marry Danielle, she wanted at one point - or she thought at one point that she might like to get married in Italy, so we looked into that and realised that there was a lot of bureaucracy to get through and red tape to go through, so it didn't feel suitable. So the whole thing with the chapel was building the Byzantine Dome of her imagination, but at the farm so we can visit it all the time. We don't have to get in an airplane to go overseas to go and see it. There was a chapel there - a little wooden one at least and my brother got married in that, and it's now had our wedding and Charlie's christening.
HOLMES: So the farm is not only somewhere where you do the Angus beef. The farm is very much a family community.
RUSSELL: Yes, it's where we all live. We all have different houses and stuff, but it's all in the same block.
HOLMES: It's nice.
RUSSELL: It's great, man, its great and it's the way.... Look, I do a lot of travelling and it's just a great benefit to me to b e able to go to one place and hang out with my Dad and my Mum and my brother and he just recently had a daughter and there's another one on the way and, of course, we have Charlie and Danielle's pregnant and due in July. So the village is growing.
HOLMES: Have enough room?
RUSSELL: Oh there is plenty of space.
HOLMES: Very nice, (turns at noise off set) You've got noisy neighbours - must be a bowling alley. Do you have a bowling alley on the farm?
RUSSELL: (Laughs) No I don't.
HOLMES: What's the best song ever written?
RUSSELL: I believe the best song, the best pop song ever written, is "Alison" by Elvis Costello, because I think all pop songs are basically love songs and "Alison" just gets to the real nitty-gritty of how painful and acerbic love can sometimes be, but it still has a connectivity to that love, so that love's not lost.
HOLMES: And tight?
RUSSELL: Concise, yes, he gets his point across very concisely.
HOLMES: Written on a dime.
RUSSELL: Yes, and that's the point with a 3 minute pop song - that's the art of getting gigantic ideas condensed and having a bridge.
HOLMES: I thought you might say....Yeah - What's a bridge?
RUSSELL: Oh, there's many forms to the answer to that.
HOLMES: I thought, when I asked you about the best song of all time, you might say something like a Cole Porter song or something like "Miss Otis Regrets".
RUSSELL: Yeah - there's um...
HOLMES: "Dock of the Bay."
RUSSELL: You can go back further than that. There's "Stately Homes of England", Noel Coward. What a wonderful pop song. What a socially aware song for the time and I think the great thing about songs is everyday there's new ones written.
HOLMES: I suppose one reason you are so particular about the spoken word is your experience in film, because film requires very precise dialogue to be written doesn't it? I know you are very particular about that. You told me that years ago with Gladiator. That you had done a lot of contributing to the dialogue.
RUSSELL: It depends on the type of situation you are working in. Sometimes you can be working on a script that is complete and absolute and you knew that when you signed on for it and that's the thing that you are doing. But, other times you are working with a director who is saying I have x percentage of a great idea and let's do this together and see how we go. That is certainly my relationship with Ridley. We just worked together in Provence last year on a movie called A Good Year. Whereas we started Gladiator with a firm 21 pages of script of about 110 that you need, we started this one with about 48 pages of about 110 that you need. To Ridley that's great progress and so next time we are hoping to start with at least 60 pages.
HOLMES: So you sit round after dinner and do it all.
RUSSELL: That's what we do.
HOLMES: You don't do it on the set - ad lib?
RUSSELL: Sometimes - sometimes - I mean some of the main lines in terms of what people remember from Gladiator are things that we just talked about on the day and that's what we did.
HOLMES: Does it happen quite a bit in movies that dialogue just comes out of the moment?
RUSSELL: When you are working for six months and you are playing that given character for six months, you tend to get so deeply inside it - not in terms of like you're living your life in it, - but between 'action' and 'cut' you are able to access that character very easily, so, and this would be true of an actor like say Paul Giamatti - his performance in Cinderella Man, as well.
When you are that deeply inside what you are doing and you have access to all that character structure you might have built, ad libbing and pretending to be that character off script is very easy to do and sometimes you just do it naturally because you will be in the middle of a scene and it occurs to the protagonists in the scene that there are other unexplored material that hasn't been looked at and so you just flow into that. It comes out in many ways, but its an art form, not an exact science.
HOLMES: You mentioned Cinderella Man. I loved Cinderella Man. Were you disappointed with the attention it got?
RUSSELL: I think it's critical attention was massive. I think it was just platformed at the wrong time for it. Unfortunately, because people are so focused on American box office, that does affect everywhere else. Which is why they will take movies that are maybe not going to get great critical response and open them on exactly the same day around the world, so that nobody has a chance to read that critical response, but Cinderella Man is a movie that I will be talking to people about for the rest of my life, I'm sure of that. It's a beautifully crafted film. It's Ron Howard's best film to date. Paul Giamatti is just electric and magnificent in this film and that goes across the whole cast.
It's one of those movies like the Shawshank Redemption which got scant attention, but over time it is now the movie that people vote for over Citizen Kane for the best movie they have seen.
HOLMES: Tell me about Renée - Renée Zellweger. I can't believe that the same person who was Bridget Jones was your wife in a boxing film.
RUSSELL: She is a great actress - bottom line.
Russell goes on to describe how he met her in a café in San Diego after he had just finished The Insider and he was about 254 lbs and bald, because he had had his head shaved for the blond wig. He had just been sent the Cinderella Man script the year before 1998. He explains to Renee that he's going to do a film about a boxer and she should play the wife. Renee listened to the whole tale very seriously and said that it sounded like something she would like to do, and in the 7 years that it took to get the movie into production, she never said anything but 'Yes" which allowed the production to move forward and they finally got the money and time they needed to make the film.
HOLMES: You should have got the Oscar for Beautiful Mind as well. You know that.
RUSSELL: (shrugs and grins). Here we go, Paul, here is the thing - right? In my life no matter what crap I foist on the general public I will always be Academy Award Winner, Russell Crowe. I don't have the accumulation gene that some people expect me to have for those sorts of things. There are other things in life I would pursue far more readily and with greater fervour than ever bothering to necessarily have a second one.
It's almost like whatever is the luckiest thing in the world for you to actually get the Award, that's what happens. It's that much of a lottery at a certain point, so the fact that its happened once is magnificent. It does give me, I believe, a certain responsibility to keep my end up in terms of quality, so I don't think I'll ever get into that point of just foisting....
HOLMES: You deserved it. I just wanted to tell you.
RUSSELL: Well, thanks very much.
HOLMES: You mentioned Ron Howard. Ron Howard has always remained very loyal to you.
RUSSELL: We are good friends and we are friends from the trenches - the same with me and Ridley. We became friends because we were in the middle of doing something very difficult. Regardless of what other people may have perceived our relationship to be, our relationship was always focused on the work we were doing and that's why we'll work together again, because it was fun.
HOLMES: He was very nice at the Oscars that night, Ron Howard, when he said none of us would be standing up here were it not for Russell Crowe. I thought it was very touching.