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Russell Crowe Eyes Starring Role in ‘Water Diviner’

Directorial debut makes actor feel like “accountant”

HONG KONG — Russell Crowe is now heading towards production on “The Water Diviner,” a war-drama that will mark the Australian-based superstar’s feature directing debut.

“If you haven’t picked up on what’s up I am in pre-pre-production on a film called The Water Diviner. As director…interesting times,” he said on Twitter this week.

The film tells the story of an Australian who travels to Turkey to discover the fate of his two sons who went missing in the Battle of Gallipoli, the Allies’ 1915-16 costly campaign to knock the Ottoman Empire (Turkey) out of the First World War. British Commonwealth troops from Australia and New Zealand, known as ANZACs, suffered over 10,000 casualties.

Maintaining a drip feed of micro-blog commentaries, Crowe this week apologized to Japanese fans for not attending the Tokyo premiere of “Man of Steel” and said he needed every minute of preparation for “Diviner.”

“I go to an office. I sit there all day having meetings, gathering information and making decisions… I feel like I have become my accountant,” he tweeted.

In other postings Crowe seems to confirm that he may also appear in front of the camera. “Yes directing myself, unless I don’t cast me or I am unavailable due to a prior commitment… the directing one.” Later Crowe jokes that he refused to audition, “based on directors familiarity with my past work.”

“The Water Diviner” is to be produced by Hopscotch Features, the Down Under unit of multinational film group Entertainment One (eOne) and by Crowe’s own Fear of God Films. The screenplay is by Andrew Knight and Andrew Anastassios.

Earlier this year [April 25] Crowe attended a dawn remembrance service at Coffs Harbour, New South Wales for ANZACs killed nearly a century ago. Also in attendance were producers Hopscotch’s Troy Lum, Andrew Mason (“The Matrix”) and Keith Rodger, along with “Lord of the Rings” cinematographer Andrew Lesnie.

Contacted by Variety, Lum said that many details were still fluid and yet to be confirmed.

Earlier in the development process “The Water Diviner” was pitched by Hopscotch as a project to be directed by Anthony Maras on a budget of $8.5 million (A$9 million). A previous incarnation pegged the budget at $11 million (AS$12 million.)

“Gladiator” star, Crowe was born in New Zealand, but is now resident in Australia.

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