Russell Crowe


  1. 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.
  2. Paul McGann, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996.
  3. 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.
  4. Brad Pitt, Fight Club, 1999.    There was another fight club among  the producers. Ross Grayson Bell and Art Linson fought over voted Crowe and 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, who knew as much about movies as Elvis Presley’s manager Colonel Parker, hated it and his studio chief Bill Mechanic was rapidly dumped.Pitt was paid $17.5m, co-star Edward Norton, as The Narrator, got $2.5m. Author Chuck Palahnuik had half finished his novel before realising that his visceral Tyler and tmilquetoast Narrator were one and the same guy. Leonardo DiCaprio told Martin Scorsese that for his generation of actors, Fight  Club was their Citizen Kane.

  5. Hugh Jackman, X-Men quartet, 1999-2013. 
    “Hey, bub, I’m not finished with you yet…” Jackie Earle Haley, Gary Sinise and Kiefer Sutherland were in the 1989 Logan/Wolverine frame.  In the early 90s. James Cameron chose, of all people,  chubby Bob Hoskins. The fans voted for Jack Nicholson…  well, he’d been a decent Wolf in 1994. Fox could not think beyond Keanu Reeves. Crowe felt Logan was too similar to his 1999 Gladiator (!)… and just a toon, anyway. Took him a dozen years to understand comics and succeed Marlon Brando, no less, as Superman’s father, Jor-El, in Man of Steel. Jackman tested nine months before shooting started – and lost! Director Bryan Singer searched on through… Singer-songwriter Glenn Danzig, Aaron Eckhart, Mel Gibson, Viggo  Mortensen (a great idea but not finished with Aragorn in The Lord of the Rings),  Also Edward Norton (also  considered for Scott Summers/Cyclops) and – oh no! – Jean-Claude Van Damme.  Finally, Singer chose Dougray Scott – but he was stuck on Mission: Impossible II in Australia which is where Jackman came from (supposedly on on Crowe’s reccommendation) to save the day. And the franchise. A chance visit to Hollywood gave him a career! “I was only in LA to do the paperwork for the adoption of my son,” he told Variety’s Brent Lang in 2017. “I had an agent and I gave him a ring: ‘I’m in town for a week. Is there anything I can read for?’ He said, ‘I’m hearing some whispers about X-Men – let me make a few calls.’”At last count, Jackman was Wolverine in ten movies (Deadpool 2 included) across 19 years.

  6. Matt Damon, The Bourne Identity, 2000.   Crowe, Matthew McConnaughey, Brad Pitt  (instead, he made Spy Game) and Sylvester Stallone were offered the titular enigma Jason Bourne in the thriller that shook up the entire James Bond franchise.  Burt Reynolds had been due as Bourne in 1983 with, of all directors, Jack Clayton. Damon was surprised to be picked  as the hero is older in the book.

  7. 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.”

  8. Viggo Mortensen,The Lord of the Rings trilogy, 2001-2003.   
  9. Eric Bana, Black Hawk Down, 2001.   They worked well together on Gladiator, so UK direcor Ridley Scott invited Crowe to be the Delta squad leader, Sergeant Norm “Hoot” Hooten., in his Somali war film.   However, Crowe had a date with A Beautiful Mind and, as it turned out, a best actor Oscar. Beinga huge fan of Chopper, 2000, Crowe suggested another Aussie to Scott…
  10. Dennis Quaid, Far From Heaven, 2001.   Bridges and Russell Crowe declined to be wed to Julianne Moore, having a romance with her black gardener. Bridges said the salary was too low, Crowe said the role was too small.  

  11. Brad Pitt, Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas, 2002.   For its last  hand-drawn 2-D toon, the Aussie was DreamWorks’ top choice for the hero. When he got stuck on another project, Pitt and Kevin Spacey were mused over.  Nolo contendere, right!?
  12. Chris Klein, Rollerball, 2002.        Director John McTiernanwent with the very second(if not third) XI.And it showed.
  13. 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.
  14. Tom Cruise, Collateral, 2003.     Early planning for the never made Eucalyptus with Nicole Kidman clashed with Crowe turning the hitman who changed from Leonardo DiCaprio, Colin Farrell to Edward Norton, John Travolta – almost as often as the thriller’s director: Scorsese and Spielberg to Spike Lee and, finally, Michael Mann.
  15. Clive Owen, King Arthur, 2003.    Three Aussies,  Crowe, Mel Gibson  and Hugh Jackman, refused the head seat at the Round Table during the five years director Michael Bay spent prepping his take. Antoine Fuqua took over. He wanted Daniel Craig. Producer Jerry Bruckheimer insisted on Owen – “he’s going to be the new James Bond” and that would add extra life to the royal DVD. Except, the next 007 was… Craig.
  16. Daniel Craig, Sylvia, 2003.  A love it/hate it  biopic as much one might love/hate the two brilliant poets involved: the suicidal Sylvia Plath and her adulterous husband, Ted Hughes. Three years before Bond, Craig overcame the much starrier Crowe and Colin Firth for the role of his own favourite poet. “I’ve been reading him for as long as I can remember. My dad’s a big Ted Hughes and Seamus Heaney fan… and my mother bought me poetry books when I ws a kid and they rub off.”
  17. Denzel Washington, Man on Fire, 2004. 
    Tony Scott backed out of directing the first version in 1986, but helped  Denzel Washington retrieve his lost taste for acting in this re-make.  Sergio Leone chose  Robert De Niro  and Marlon Brando nearly played A J Quinnell’s ex-CIA hero turned mercenary (certainly helped re-write  him) but Scott Glenn won the  role. Tony Scott  had wanted Robert Duvall. The new scriptwriter, Brian Helgeland,  recalled going  into the LA Video Archives store  in the 80s and asking the clerk: “What’s good?” The clerk said:  Man on Fire. The clerk was Quentin Tarantino.  In both films Creasy  is trying to rescue a kidnapped girl, almost a daughter to him, that  he’s bodyguarding.  Yeah, rather like a matrix for Liam Neeson’s Takens. So no surprise to find Liam among some 25 actors up for Creasy. Alec Baldwin, Sean Bean(a nearly 007), , Kevin Costner, Russell Crowe (“been there,  done  that in Proof of Life”), , Tom Cruise, Harrison Ford, Andy Garcia, Mel Gibson, Ed Harris, Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, Viggo Mortensen,  Gary Oldman, Dennis Quaid, Keanu Reeves, Alan Rickman, Kurt Russell,  Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Bruce Willis… … even our dear old  Bob Hoskins.  Creasy was later  Bollywooded by the inimitable  Amitabh Bachchan (at age  63!). There were three songs, of course!

  18. 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!
  19. Omar Epps, Against The Ropes, 2004.      Russell was commited to another boxing drama, Cinderella Man.  Neither one beat the count.
  20. Tom Hanks, The Da Vinci Code, 2005.     The favourite for a third Ron Howard movie. However, Crowe has an different French venture set upon… A Good Year.  He chose the wrong harvest.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.”
  23. 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!
  24. 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…
  25. Eric Bana, Star Trek, 2008.      
  26. 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.
  27. 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.”
  28. Dennis Quaid, The Special Relationship, TV, 2009.     Crowe, Alec Baldwin, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Tim Robbins were also trying to be President Bill Clinton opposite Michael Sheen’s third term as UK Prime Minister Tony Blair – after the same scenarist Peter Morgan’s The Deal, 2003, and The Queen, 2006. This one opened with Oscar Wilde wisdom: True friends stab you in the front!

  29. Grant Bowler,  Atlas Shrugged: Part 12010.

  30. Chris Diamantopoulos, The Three Stooges, 2011.    The Farrelly brothers’ second choice (after Benicio Del Toro) for head Stooge Moe Howard. Also seen: Hank Azaria, Johnny Depp and even Mel Gibson! ’Twas obvious from the get-go that this idea was a loser. Bobby and Peter may have adored them (hence their own un-subtle comedies) but there are not many other fans left of the Stooges – and their literal slap-dash boinks, pokes, slaps, nyuk-nyuks, and nyaaahhhs. Mel Brooks had backed off from such a project in 1974 for exactly that reason. “It’s so hard to sustain a plot that could withstand their antics for that long.” A handsome fella until given the infamous soup-bowl haircut, Diamantopoulos was born five days after Moe died in 1975.
  31. Tom Cruise, Jack Reacher, 2011.
    Some of the names – and heights – up for Lee Child’s craggy ex-military cop-cum-Sherlock-homeless  were absurd.  Jim Carrey, for example. Jim Carrey!  Some 25 others  were Nicolas Cage, Russell Crowe, Johnny Depp, Cary Elwes,  Colin Farrell, Harrison Ford, Jamie Foxx, Mel Gibson, Hugh Wolverine Jackman, Dwayne Johnson (“I look back in gratitude that I didn’t get Jack Reacher”),  Avatar’s Stephen Lang, Dolph Lundgren, Edward Norton, Ron (Hellboy) Perlman, Brad Pitt, Keanu Reeves (he became John Wick x 5),  Kurt Russell, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Vince Vaughn, Denzel Washington and the battle-fatigued  Bruce Willis.  Any of them would have been more acceptable than Tom Cruise  – with the exception of Carrey, Depp, Elwes, Reeves and, obviously the Euros. Pitt was best of the pack (remember Fight Club?)… although no one even thought of the obvious choice –   Liam Neeson!  Reacher fans were livid about  the 5ft 5ins Cruise daring to be  the  6ft 5ins  action hero. Reminiscent of Anne Rice’s capitulation over  tiny Tom as her “very tall” Lestat in  Interview With The Vampire, in 1994, author Lee Child declared: “Reacher’s size is a metaphor for an unstoppable force – which Cruise portrays in his own way.” Ah! But then in 2018, after the sequel, Child changed his tune about his child. (They share the same birthday, October 29).  ”Ultimately, the readers are right. The size of Reacher is really, really important and it’s a big component of who he is… So what I’ve decided to do is – there won’t be any more movies with Tom CruiseWe’re rebooting,  we’re going to try and find the perfect guy.” And they did with 6ft. 2ins Alan Richtson – Aquaman in Smallville and Hawk in Supergirl and Titans – for the Amazon series.

  32. Joel Kinnaman, RoboCop, 2012.      Well, Darren Aronofsky was due to direct at the time.

  33. 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!

  34. 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).
  35. 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.
  36. Josh Brolin, Deadpool 2, 2017.   With Ryan Reynolds reigning supreme as the wise-cracking, cancer-ridden, super smart-ass hero, who could oppose him as Cable, the heftily armed cyborg? (“You’re dark – sure you’re not from the DC Universe?” our Marvel hero asks him). Deadpool creator Rob Liefeld wanted Russell Crowe – and even after Brolin signed, pushed for Jon Hamm. Other Mr Impregnable ideas included Alec Baldwin, Pierce Brosnan, David Harbour, Stephen Lang, Brad Pitt (he shot his Vanisher cameo in two hours), Michael Shannon and the wrinklies  (yawn) Mel Gibson, Dolph Lundgren, Ron Perlman, Kurt Russell, Arnold Schawarzenegger, Sylvester Stallone and Bruce Willis.Already Marvel’s villain Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, Brolin had a four-film deal, to reveal more about Cable and, doubtless, extra gags about his stepmother Barbra Streisand’s 1982 Yentl.
  37. Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born, 2017.
  38. Jon Hamm, Bad Times at the El Royale, 2018.   Seven strangers with a past search for redemption in a bad news hotel in Lake Tahoe. They included  TV’s Mad Man Hamm inheriting Crowe’s pass.





 Birth year: Death year: Other name: Casting Calls:  38