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Male Actor Russell Crowe and Master and Commander
Monthly Column
November 2002

In the Arts and Leisure section of the New York Times, the front page shows an almost 8 x 10 picture of actor, Russell Crowe, in his Jack Aubrey uniform as he holds onto a rope.  In the background are two, ship crewmen also in period uniforms.

The article that goes with this picture is written by Rick Lyman and titled, “On the Seas Again, Guided By a Star.”  Crowe looks great in his uniform and the photo, which shows Crowe squinting and possibly looking out at the wide, open ocean.  This will give us, his fans, something to look forward to. 

Crowe says he turned down the job but changed his mind after he read the Patrick O’Brian book series from which the movie is based.  “When I’d officially walked away from it last December, what kept me up at night was thinking, what am I doing?  Do I really want to give up a chance to work with Peter Weir, something I used to dream about doing?”

Crowe says he made the request that scenes be added where Aubrey is teaching the midshipmen on the ship.  “I wanted to show the responsibilities of having these kids on board.”

Again, as in his previous movies, Crowe is expressing his thoughts on “the making of the movie.”  For example, he has decided that Aubrey should have a British accent even when Historians say that an Australian accent would be acceptable.  Also, he says that staying 100% true to O’Brian may not be possible.  “The way I figure it, Patrick O’Brian is dead.  And anyway, we’re making a movie here.”  Another contribution includes the fact that Crowe organized football games to get the crew in shape for the necessary scenes when the ship is at sea and the crew members have physical scenes.  “Hey mate, it’s all about the work.  Everything is about the work.”

The article points out other newspapers that play up to Crowe's image off-camera.  These quotes include the following: 

“Doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks of him.”

“Prides himself in his hatred of the press.”

Moreover, other tabloids have played up to his “rowdy, bar-fights” image.  The article explains, “But Mr. Crowe said that while he is certainly no saint, the rowdy rumors about him have taken on a life of their own.”

Crowe defends himself when he says, “You know, there are people out there who call themselves journalists who don’t do what real journalists do.  I’m supposed to have done all these things or been places, and it never happened.  It’s like there’s another bloke out there and he’s doing all these crazy things.  A guy in the crew came up to me recently and said, ‘Hey, I read this story that you were in a fight in a bar on Saturday night, but then I remembered that you were with me on Saturday night.’  I told him, ‘Hey mate, welcome to my life.’”

He further adds that the image built up about him is something he dismisses.  “I don’t mean to give the impression that it bothers me or that I give it a whole lot of thought.”

Crowe says a few words about his character, Aubrey, and himself and how in some ways they have similarities.  “At sea, he is extremely able, but on land, he is pretty much hopeless.  Just like me, I guess.”

When asked if movie acting has kept a high standard, Russell Crowe responds, “What about Daniel Day-Lewis, or Sean Penn or Robert Downey Jr.?  They’re doing work as good as anyone has ever done.  They just don’t play the game.”

In the ship, where the reporter is getting his information for his article, he does not follow Crowe who climbs up onto a wooden platform.  Crowe says, “Don’t worry, mate.  But just take a second.  Look around.  It’s quite a wonderful view from up here.”

Crowe’s character plays the violin and Crowe says he has “gotten to the point where I know that I can make a beautiful sound.”

So in the next TOFOG album, what are the chances that Crowe plays the violin?  Like Aubrey’s ship, it would be a nice “Surprise.”

(Master and Commander opens November 14, 2003).

Thanks to Andrea White (sugarplumlamb@webtv.net) for sending the article.

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