“I have been told I am a good horseman,” says Russell Crowe, “but I’m not exactly sure what that means. If it means that I don’t fall off then that is up for debate. If it means that I could win something in the Olympics, definitely not. If it means that I have a love of horses and count them among my friends, then that’s right on the button.”
Russell has been cast to ride horses in many of his movies and he is always delighted to be given that opportunity. “I do have an affinity with horses, so when I go through a script and find out that I have to ride that’s a real bonus,” he says. “Sometimes they insist that a particular scene has to be done by a stunt man and that can be frustrating because I always like a challenge, but you get used to having to sit out some of those scenes that you would really like to be doing yourself.”
Russell Crowe is such a very down-to-earth kind of bloke that you can forget that he is so internationally famous and, of course, an Oscar winner. “I don’t honestly think about being a famous face,” he says. “I’m just Russell. I have quite a few famous friends. If I start to name them it will sound like I am name dropping but some of us are like-minded and we hang out together now and then. I am not into image making, just being myself, and my friends all feel the same way. We don’t try to impress each other with our work or successes, we are just mates.
“Winning an Oscar meant a lot to me but perhaps not for the reason people might think. One of my proudest possessions is an MBE which belonged to my grandfather. I always wanted something like that of my own. Winning an Oscar is not the same as showing bravery, but it meant a great amount to me. Most actors are not truly confident that they are getting it right so when you get an award to tell you have got it exactly right that really means something.
‘ENJOY MY WORK’
“I just enjoy my work and I often get asked if I have a favourite role. I find that a really tough question. I have enjoyed almost all of them. Gladiator was good for me, of course, but I also liked Master and Commander. I like anything in which I get the chance to really act. That is when I know I am doing my job properly.”
Nobody could really accuse Russell Crowe of not doing his job properly – he came up the hard way, bitten by the performance bug when he was just a boy and established himself on both stage and screen before he was even a teenager. “I got a few breaks early on – I even appeared in Neighbours,” Russell recalls. “Silver Brumby was great for me. I think everyone loved Silver Brumby and for me it was a pleasure to be landing a great acting part which also meant that I was spending a lot of time with horses. Just to show how varied my work was, I also did a stage tour with The Rocky Horror Show. I loved it – you never stop learning in this profession.