Tussle with Russell

First Brando, now Crowe. Greatness is never easy

Long before Maximus plunged a stiletto into Commodus’ throat and Bud White raged against L.A. corruption, Russell Crowe (a.k.a. Rus le Roq) loved to sing “I Want to Be Like Marlon Brando” in O’Reilly’s Pub in St. John’s Newfoundland.

“That song, tongue- in-cheek to a degree, has some truth to it,” says “The Sum of Us” director Kevin Dowling. “It goes to the complexity of Russell’s character. Marlon Brando was this mythic unbelievably talented, meticulous actor. And that’s the kind of actor Russell wanted to be, and is.”

In his early days as an Aussie film actor, Crowe played a neo-Nazi Korean head-basher in “Romper Stomper” and a gay rugby player in “Sum of Us,” proving to Hollywood that he had the rage. And the range.

The actor went on to demonstrate to other directors that he had guts, vulnerability and also the ability to ask seemingly endless questions about his character.

“He came to my office wearing this beard and mustache,” says “No Way Back” director Frank Cappello. “He was really into his character, FBI agent Zack Grant. He explained that Zack’s beard and moustache were about ‘this man in hiding, this man that needs another chance.’ ”

Or, as “L.A. Confidential” director Curtis Hanson remembers it, “Russell likes to have his beer, and he gave up having anything to drink during the entire time we were shooting. He wanted to be that hard, that solid.”

Crowe is a bloke’s bloke. And if you do your job you could be one of Russell’s blokes. If not…

“People think he’s a bully,” adds Cappello. “But his bulliness comes out when he just gets sick of a bunch of people that don’t move. I’ve always defended him. When I hear he threw a phone at somebody, I go, ‘Well, the guy was probably a prick anyway.’ ”

Get more Profile in Excellence: Russell Crowe

More Film

  • First Look at Trailer for Avi

    First Look at Trailer for Avi Nesher’s Toronto Entry 'The Other Story'

    Long before Maximus plunged a stiletto into Commodus’ throat and Bud White raged against L.A. corruption, Russell Crowe (a.k.a. Rus le Roq) loved to sing “I Want to Be Like Marlon Brando” in O’Reilly’s Pub in St. John’s Newfoundland. “That song, tongue- in-cheek to a degree, has some truth to it,” says “The Sum of […]

  • SXSW Winner 'Jinn' Bought by Orion

    SXSW Winner 'Jinn' Bought by Orion Classics for November Release

    Long before Maximus plunged a stiletto into Commodus’ throat and Bud White raged against L.A. corruption, Russell Crowe (a.k.a. Rus le Roq) loved to sing “I Want to Be Like Marlon Brando” in O’Reilly’s Pub in St. John’s Newfoundland. “That song, tongue- in-cheek to a degree, has some truth to it,” says “The Sum of […]

  • Oscars Popular Film Illustration

    Will Oscars' Popular Film Category Generate Ratings or Just Controversy?

    Long before Maximus plunged a stiletto into Commodus’ throat and Bud White raged against L.A. corruption, Russell Crowe (a.k.a. Rus le Roq) loved to sing “I Want to Be Like Marlon Brando” in O’Reilly’s Pub in St. John’s Newfoundland. “That song, tongue- in-cheek to a degree, has some truth to it,” says “The Sum of […]

  • Theodore Pellerin stars as “Xavier” and

    'Outlaw King,' 'Jeremiah Terminator LeRoy' to Open and Close Toronto Film Festival

    Long before Maximus plunged a stiletto into Commodus’ throat and Bud White raged against L.A. corruption, Russell Crowe (a.k.a. Rus le Roq) loved to sing “I Want to Be Like Marlon Brando” in O’Reilly’s Pub in St. John’s Newfoundland. “That song, tongue- in-cheek to a degree, has some truth to it,” says “The Sum of […]

  • Cobie SmuldersChanel Tribeca Film Festival Artists

    Cobie Smulders Comedy 'Alright Now' Lands at Gravitas Ventures (EXCLUSIVE)

    Long before Maximus plunged a stiletto into Commodus’ throat and Bud White raged against L.A. corruption, Russell Crowe (a.k.a. Rus le Roq) loved to sing “I Want to Be Like Marlon Brando” in O’Reilly’s Pub in St. John’s Newfoundland. “That song, tongue- in-cheek to a degree, has some truth to it,” says “The Sum of […]

  • Jordan Peele photographed by Art Streiber

    What's Next for Jordan Peele and His House of Horrors

    Long before Maximus plunged a stiletto into Commodus’ throat and Bud White raged against L.A. corruption, Russell Crowe (a.k.a. Rus le Roq) loved to sing “I Want to Be Like Marlon Brando” in O’Reilly’s Pub in St. John’s Newfoundland. “That song, tongue- in-cheek to a degree, has some truth to it,” says “The Sum of […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content