- Matthew Modine, Cutthroat Island, 1995. With Michael Douglas jumping the pirate ship, Geena Davis and then husband Renny Harlin decided she would be The Star with a lesser mortal alongside her. Well, not this unknown Aussie... he had just finished working with another co-star producer called Sharon Stone.
- Paul McGann, Doctor Who(The Movie), TV, 1996.
- Laurence Fishburne, The Matrix, 1999. "I just didn't get it. I couldn't get past page 42. That world was just not interesting to me." Everyone passed. Larry, alone,saw the potential - far from being financial at the time.
- Brad Pitt, Fight Club, 1999.There was another fight club amongthe producers. Ross Grayson Bell and Art Linson fought over Croweand Brad Pitt for Tyler Durden. And so, it was Pitt prepping with boxing, taekwondo, grappling - and soap making - for what Chicago critic Roger Ebert called “the most frankly and cheerfully fascist big-star movie since Death Wish,a celebration of violence ... masquerading as philosophy.”Fox Daddy Rupert Murdoch, the great movie know-all, hated it and his studio chief Bill Mechanic wasrapidly dumped.
- Ally McCoist. A Shot At Glory, 2000. Robert Duvall ,the film’s star, let fly at Crowe for rejecting the production - and heaped praise on McCoist, a Scottish soccer star, "eighty times better for this part than Russell Crowe, and more charismatic."
- Hugh Jackman, X-Men trilogy, 1999-2005.
- Viggo Mortensen,The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 2001-2003.
- Chris Klein, Rollerball,2002. Director John McTiernanwent with the very second(if not third) XI.And it showed.
- Hugh Grant, About A Boy, 2002.Russell was hardly the type to pretend to bea single dad- to attract women. Nor, for that matter, was Hugh, despite his new hair-cut.
- Brad Pitt, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, 2003. Crowe signed to voice Sinbad but was deep in another movie when required in the recording studios.
- Dennis Quaid, The Alamo, 2004. When director Ron Howard quit over a budget row with Disney (he wanted $200m), Crowe walked with him. John Lee Hancock made the film for $95 million. And it showed. And it tanked. No stars!
- Omar Epps, Against The Ropes, 2004. Russell was commited to another boxing drama, Cinderella Man. Neither one beat the count.
- Tom Cruise, Collateral, 2004. Made much more sense than Cruise trying to be tough.
- Tom Hanks, The Da Vinci Code, 2005. The favourite for a third Ron Howard movie. However, Crowe has an differentFrench venture set upin... A Good Year.He chose the wrong harvest.
- Iain Glenn, Kingdom of Heaven, 2005. Unavailable when his Gladiator director Ridley Scott offered him the cameo of Richard I. Instead, they kept another12th Century date for Robin Hood, 2009.
- Robert Downey Jnr, Zodiac, 2006. Director David Fincher gave the studiothe same advice he used three years later on The Social Network: “You gotta have 20-to 25-year-old kids. You have to give me free rein to find the best people for these parts.” Hegot his way on the Facebook movie. But on Zodiac - “ I got the list and it’s Russell Crowe
and Tom Cruise.”
- Johnny Depp, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, 2006. Well, Crowe can sing. He had a band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, and once cut a single, “I Want to Be Like Marlon Brando” as Russ Le Roq. Not so sure about the rest in the loop… Robert De Niro, Michael Douglas, Richard Dreyfuss, Gene Hackman, Dustin Hoffman, William Hurt, Kevin Kline, Steve Martin, Jack Nicholson, Al Pacino. Tim Curry was the sole Brit considered and the most lunatic notions were... Warren Beatty, Harrison Ford and Robert Redford!
- Hugh Jackman, Australia. 2007. As Crowe was procrastinating about script approval for the $150m epic, Baz Luhrmann’s producers told the director to find another actor. Heath Ledger refused, having committed to The Joker in The Dark Knight leaving Nicole Kidman without a beau. Crowe changed tack, the script was no problem - no but you are, buzz off (or something like that). Luhrmann called Jackman who “continues to astound in terms of his range, whether it’s Boy From Oz or Wolverine." Baz’s film never recovered...
- Eric Bana, Star Trek, 2008. Producer-director-writer-rebooter JJ Abrams had two choices only for Nerro, his villainous Romulan - both Australian. Crowe or Bana. Yet JJ also saw Demian Bichir and Benicio Del Toro.
- Sean Penn, Fair Game, 2009. Originally, director Doug Liman chose an all-Aussie couple, Crowe and Nicole Kidman,for the story of Valerie Plame Wilson, a Washington wife and mother outed as a CIA agent by the vengeful Bush administration after her ambassador-husband’s New York Times article about how the White Hous emanipulated intel on weapons of mass destruction to justify the Iraq war. On TV Karl Rove said, “Wilson’s wife is fair game.” Penn’s screen wife was Naomi Watts.
Matthew Macfadyen, Robin Hood, 2009. Before directors Sam Raimi, Bryan Singer and Jon Turteltaub passed the Sherwood project to Sir Ridley Scott, Crowe had been elected Sheriff of Nottingham. For some bizarre reason, Scott saw him as Robin Longstride (!) - oldest Hood in history at 45. Chicago critIc Roger Ebert complained "little by little, title by title, innocence and joy is being drained out of the movies."
Grant Bowler, Atlas Shrugged: Part 1, 2010.
- Joel Kinnaman, RoboCop, 2012. Well, Darren Aronofsky was due to direct at the time.
- Henry Cavill, The Man From UNCLE, 2013. After securing the 60s’ TV series rights in 1993, John Davis went through 20 years, 14 scripts, four directors (letting slip Soderbergh and Tarantino!), plus 19 Napoleon Solos. From George Clooney in 2010 to Tom Cruise three years later. By way of the early 21st Century suspects: Christian Bale, Bradley Cooper, Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Michael Fassbender, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ryan Gosling, Jon Hamm, Joel Kinnaman, Ewan McGregor, Robert Pattinson, Chris Pine, Ryan Reynolds, Alexander Skarsgård (he switched to Tarzan), Channing Tatum. Even Crowe, surely a better bet at 50 for old Waverly, the UNCLE boss. Poor Davis never got it right!
- Denzel Washington, The Equalizer, 2013. Edward Woodward’s old TV series in new shoes… Crowe was first attached to play Robert McCall, ex-spookseeking redemption by helping ordinary folks His media ad reads: “Got a problem? Odds against you? Call the Equalizer.” (Co-star Melissa Leo had guested in a 1985 episode, The Defector episode).
- George Clooney, Gravity, 2013. When Robert Downey Jr ejected from the science fiction marvel (“technology and Robert are incompatible,” explained Alfonso Cuaron), the Mexican auteur talked “with a bunch of people” for astronaut Matt Kowalski - Crowe, Kevin Costner, Daniel Craig, Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Tom Hanks (he loves astronauts, right?), John Travolta, Denzel Washington and Bruce Willis. Most backed off, annoyed that the woman astronaut, Sandra Bullock, had most of the film entirely to herself.