According to this astonishing and revelatory report today, a new book that’s about to be published is claiming that Russell Crowe is a cunt.
His cuntability aside, I’d be interested to hear your opinion on his ‘greatest actor in the world’ claim. From my laypersons POV I think he might have a point. There’s plenty of great actors, I’m sure, but I can’t think of any living actors who’ve taken on such a diverse range of roles and done pretty good at ’em all.
The way I see it, most ‘great actors’ are just super-duper, souped-up, elevated-to-star-status character actors, playing the same proven character over and over again, only ever changing the costume.
What sayest thou?
Good question, cNm, thanks.
As far as his acting ability is concerned, the only role I’ve liked him in (and I haven’t seen them all) was “The Insider” and I’m crediting that to Michael Mann’s direction.
But in all the roles I’ve seen in him (and this goes back to “Romper Stomper”), I’ve never had the impression of his characters having a “life” beyond the words we hear and the actions we observe onscreen, that is, they’ve all struck me as hollow at their core. I have a sense that he constructs his characters around the demands of his ego and what he may be trying to do is communicate to us who he would like us to think Russell Crowe really is and, if that’s the case, Russell Crowe doesn’t actually exist.
Actors who (like Crowe reportedly does) are constantly bitching about a script and demanding changes because “their” character “wouldn’t say this” or “do this” are, in reality, saying “I won’t say this” or “I won’t do that” because “I” don’t want to be thought of as being that type of person.
A good example of an actor who checks his ego at the soundstage door is Robert Duvall, and William Goldman gives a great example of Duvall’s approach in “Adventures in the Screen Trade” when Duvall was approached to play the bastard father in “The Great Santini”. From what I recall (it’s been many years since I last read it), they were having trouble finding actors who were willing enough to be seen as such a prick, fearing they themselves might be confused with the character. People were asking for changes, they wanted some soft scenes and nice dialogue slipped in to “humanise” them. Duvall, on the other hand, just leapt right in, played an absolute cunt of a man, yet, in spite of this, still managed to convey the character’s emotional core and the turmoil that raged within.
I’m not saying Crowe’s a “bad” actor, that would be patently stupid and just plain wrong. It’s just, for me, I don’t connect with him because I can’t feel that there’s anything behind him, that there’s nothing there but Crowe impersonating an aspect of Crowe that Crowe would like to possess. It’s seems an imitation of life, rather than “a life”.
My favourite actors are usually the supports, the secondary characters who, because the film does not rise and fall upon their roles, can submerge themselves and do what actors are supposed to do, which is quite simply “play”. I’m thinking of people like Jeff Daniels, Don Cheadle, Philip Seymour Hoffmann, William H. Macy, Nick Searcy, Stephen Root and so forth.
Take Daniels, for example – he moves genres effortlessly from “Something Wild” to “Dumb and Dumber” and then to “The Squid & The Whale” and “Good Night and Good Luck” and he manages to be absolutely convincing across the requirements of all styles. I don’t think Crowe could do that, because he’s not theatre trained, and Daniels (and those others I’ve mentioned, as well as Duvall) are and quite extensively so.
There’s a lot to be said for a background in theatre, simply because in theatre, if you fuck it up, you can’t stop and ask for a retake. You have to know your character inside and out, every aspect of them and be confident of your decisions. In film, all you need is a good editor. And if an actor walks on to a film set and keeps wanting to change this and change that while they’re there, in my mind, that actor hasn’t done his or her fucking work in the first place and it should have been addressed at the read-throughs.
Anyway, purely subjective and arguable I know, but that’s my thoughts on the matter of “our” Rusty.
Shit, mate! I was just making idle chit-chat and you go and hit me with an entire thesis.
Damn sound argument, but. You made me realise I’ve never been ‘moved’ or ‘convinced’ by any of our Rusty’s performances. Impressed and held, certainly, but nothing beyond that – viewer engagement with his ‘craft’ is a little like an academic exercise.
A+ and a gold star for your forehead.
Next assignment: Is Sean Penn a bigger cunt, bigger wanker and/or better actor than our Rusty.
I’d say Penn’s a better actor at this point in time because he’s matured enough to realise that it’s no longer about him – prime example being “Milk”, his whole physicality changed for that part. All traces of Sean Penn as “actor” just seemed to disappear. Fine director, too.
Given a choice between having a sit down and a beer with Crowe or Penn, I’d take Penn anyday. I think Crowe would always be expecting a person to defer to him and pay him homage. I doubt Penn could give a flying fuck what people think of him one way or another anymore. And he wouldn’t bore me stupid with talk about a bloody football team. Also, I think Penn has a genuine passion for what he believes in, even if he does come across a sanctimonious prick. Crowe’s passion seems largely focused on himself.
They’re both pricks at heart, but some pricks are bigger than others. So to speak.
Bigger prick!? I thought the question was who’s the bigger cunt?
No matter, it was thinking of Milk that made me raise the spectre of Sean Penn. It possible to watch that film, become immersed in it, flow with the narrative and never once think to yourself; “oh, there’s Sean Penn acting in a movie”.
I can think of another example of such ‘transcendent’ acting, but it’s very, very shocking and would advise any one of delicate sensibilities to look away now…
…okay, here it comes. Ready? John Travolta!!! Yes, John Fucking Travolta!!!!!! Maybe director Mike Nichols had a lot to do with it, but I was able to watch the quite long Primary Colors where Travolta plays a fictionalised Bill Clinton and completely forget that it was John Fucking Travolta acting up there. It was amazing. I think I’ll become a Scientologist.
Travolta’s one of those actors who really needs a good director to bring out the best in him. That hasn’t happened for a while.
Agree on Travolta, Ross. He’s flopped about on most his more recent offerings. I’m not sure he knows how to pick a good script.
Yeah, tell us what you really think, Ross! I thought Aussies were supposed to be laconic, not loquacious.
I don’t mind Rusty. I don’t think he’s the world’s greatest actor. Far from it. There are many who shine way more than he, but he’s certainly ‘proficient’, which is more than can be said for most. He did look like a prize dork, however, when he was up that mast in Master and Commander. And I did want to slap him in A Beautiful Mind. Directors, in my opinion, have a lot to answer for in not pulling their leads back. In fact, i think they often encourage them to play up the role to please your typical blockbuster audiences. Nuance doesn’t get bums on seats, I guess.
Sometime I wonder about all the criticism of him being a cnut and all. Maybe he is, but I wouldn’t trust the Rusty’s a cunt mob. It takes on a life of its own, that kind of thing.
The biggest cunt actor I’ve ever heard about was Marlon Brando. A fantastic actor, undeniably, but as a person, a total lump of self-absorbed, nasty, mean-spirited shit.
Refer Peter Manso’s mammoth bio, “Brando” for proof.
Travolta should sack his agent, and ask Quentin T. for tips on who to get for a new one.
Shit! Pulp Fiction. Completely forgot about that, good fillum and Travolta was good in it, too. Saturday Night Fever (if one can set one’s disco prejudice aside) was also a good fillum and Travolta (if one can set one’s tight white trousers prejudice aside) was good in it, too. At least that’s my memory of seeing the R rated version at a drive-in about 75 years ago. And Primary Colours.
That’s three. Any others? If a veteran joke actor has only delivered three ‘good’ performances in a career, are they a good actor? Jim Carrey has done Truman Show, Spotless Mind, Milos Foreman’s Man in the Moon and that other thing were he has his memory messed with – maybe there’s others – but that’s four ‘serious’ films were he does ‘good’ acting.
So how come Travolta is more lauded an actor than Carrey?
“Carrie”, “Blow Out” was okay, “Get Shorty”, that’s all I can think off.
As for Jim Carrey, from what I’ve seen (which is not much), I’m not a fan, but maybe something will come up to change my mind one day. Haven’t seen “Spotless Mind” or “Man in the Moon”. Frankly, the few times I’ve seen his goofy, toothy, mugging grin, I’ve felt like stabbing a kitten.
I can be so unreasonable at times.
I have it on good advice that Russell Crowe is DEFINITELY a cunt through and through. This was told to me by a friend back in Sydney who worked with him on a film before he became “a star”.
I agree with the comments about Travolta.
I used to really like Nicholas Cage before he had the hair implants, steroids and his teeth done. He was great in Leaving Las Vegas, Bringing out the Dead, and anything that he appeared in that was directed by David Lynch. But most of his movies these days are just fucking shite, like The Knowing.
Modern Day actors of our time that I think are really good would include Johnny Depp. He’s one of the few actors that chooses challenging roles with only the occasional piece of commercial crap (Pirates of the Caribean) to keep the bank balance topped up.
BTW, watched a fantastic OZ movie on DVD the other day called “Wake in Fright” it’s been resurrected from the film archives and remastered. It was filmed in 1973 and is a brilliant piece of Aussie film history.
And no , I won’t be watching the fucking logies tonight!
I blogged about Wake in Fright back in February.
What’s a “logie”?
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