He’s in good company. Past recipients of the Taormina nod include Michael Douglas, Oliver Stone, Robert De Niro, Liam Neeson and Tom Cruise, who in 2000 stood on the Greek amphitheater stage greeted by hundreds of lit candles and a standing ovation to celebrate his 38th birthday; he was promoting Mission: Impossible 2.
But Crowe’s presence this year at the Italo fest takes on special significance. It coincides with a radical reboot of the venerable event by artistic director Mario Sesti, who is turning Taormina into a mainstream showcase focused on genre pics along with auteur movies.
“From A Beautiful Mind to Gladiator, from Master and Commander to Man of Steel, Russell Crowe has proved to everyone, spectators and critics alike, that to be a great actor you need both a great physical presence and a great mind: sort of like Taormina, which loves the belly of the moviemaking art — comedies and horror films — and also the high-mindedness of auteur cinema,” Sesti says.
Also significant: Crowe’s Taormina career nod comes as he plays Jor-El, Superman’s biological father, the role that was famously undertaken by Marlon Brando in Richard Donner’s 1978 rendition of Superman.
Snyder and Steel stars Henry Cavill, Amy Adams and Antje Traue are also booked to be at the fest, which Warner Bros. and other U.S. studios are supporting thanks to its congenial summer timing and unique setting.
Warner Bros. will open Steel June 14 in the U.S. and U.K.; June 19 in France, and June 20 in Italy and Germany.