Special interview Russell Crowe
Although notorious A-list bad boy Russell Crowe has mellowed quite a bit since his phone-throwing, temper-tantrum days, the Aussie (by way of New Zealand) Oscar winner can still be rebellious and a dedicated father.
In his latest movie the ‘70’s set comedy “The Nice Guys” he is paired with People’s Sexiest Man Alive Ryan Gosling (Oscar nominated for 2006’s “Half Nelson”)
In the film, directed by “Iron Man 3’s” Shane Black, Crowe plays an enforcer who teams up with a down-on-his-luck private eye (Gosling) to find a missing girl. During their investigation the duo begin to uncover a shocking conspiracy that reached up to the highest levels of the justice system. Part comedy, part noir thriller, “The Nice Guys” is reminiscent of films like “Get Shorty” and Black’s previous “Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang,” which starred Robert Downey Jr.
Q: We heard you rode around on your motorcycle while shooting L.A. ‘70’s set comedy “The Nice Guys”.
Crowe: No, it was my bicycle. When I do things like that, I peek out on the day I start shooting and then I start to get strong. Any city I'm in, wherever I am in the world, I like to learn the north, south, east and west of that city and the best way to do that is on a bicycle.
Q: How many miles were you riding a day?
Crowe: About 100 kilometers per week. So like 60-70 miles a week. Some weeks were more because we'd be working way out of town. We did one week out on Stone Mountain (Ga.), so that was a long-ass road.
Q: What kind of bike do you have?
Crowe: I have a Scott mountain bike. I like to have a mountain bike because it doesn't matter what the terrain is. I can be on the road or I can go off-road. My frame doesn't suit a cruiser bike. I don't like that tilted-forward position. I know it's going to sound weird, but I like the safety aspect of having a wider tire, particularly when you're riding in a town like New York and there’s a lot of construction. You'll come around a corner and there's some hole you're going to fall into.
Q: Do you bring your bike to each location?
Q: You put a lot of thought into building this character, right?
Crowe: We can go on for hours to what the backstory of (my character) Jackson Healy is, but in really simple terms, I wanted him to be displaced. I didn't want him to be from California, so he's very obviously from the East Coast. I think he's lived most of his life in the military. If you think about the age he was, the years you are talking about is probably the Korean War at that time, and him going into the Navy and serving all the way, probably, into Vietnam. He's probably been out only four or five years. The indicator of that background serves at how neat his place is and how minimal it is.
While some people might have ten of something, he's got one. We didn't go into that backstory because it's not required, but for my own (preparation for the role I thought) how do you get to this age and you're still a bottom feeder, looking at a guy like Ryan Gosling's character and having the aspiration that maybe one day you can be as cool as him. I think that he knows that there's stuff missing in his life, but I don't think that he can articulate what it is.
There's a great sadness that he carries. For as capable as he is, he just wants to be useful.
Q: What type of dad are you?
Crowe: Well, if you talk to my ex-wife (Danielle Spencer, with whom he has two sons), she'll give you a bad scorecard. (He laughs.) When I'm with my kids I always hear people talking about how together they are. We talk as freely as we can, as often as I can be with them, but at the same time it's very important that they take and understand that I have certain privileges in life and I define for them what those privileges are. Here it is. We're doing this particular thing. This is who you need to be grateful to, because that's something that's very important. They're (12-year-old Charles and 9-year-old Tennyson) both very grounded. They've experienced a lot of amazing things because of my job, but they don't take anything for granted and they're humble about their place in the world and grateful for the things that come their way, if I can just keep them in that place, we'll be good. (He laughs.)
Q: Having already established your career, won an Academy Award, directed a film, what are your future goals?
Crowe: I've never been that through (in deciding what to do next). There are definitely people who make a list of the directors they want to work with, but I've never been that actor that wants to do my version of “Hamlet.” I've never been that kind of person. I respond to the material that I get sent. I either like it or I don't like it. It doesn't matter what the pedigree is or who else is in the movie. All those considerations come later. If I read a script and I respond to the narrative at a very basic level, then that's the movie that I'm going to do.