Ahead of his new show on SoHo, The Loudest Voice, Russell Crowe, talks about the news, taking risks and Jacinda Ardern.
You had to physically transform yourself to play Roger Ailes, the chief executive and chairman of Fox News, with the prosthetics and the fat suit. You looked unrecognisable – but how did you feel when you first saw yourself in the mirror?
Well, the first application took six hours so that wasn't fun. Then we realised we needed a new nose as well because mine is a different shape and it threw the whole look off. In the end, all you really see of me is a little part of my forehead, my eyes and my mouth and the rest of it is prosthetics. It's a full neck piece, two bald caps, cheeks, nose, the whole lot. It was really exciting in a perverse way because when the idea first came up and I started looking at images of Roger, I didn't know how on earth we were going to approach it.
There must have been a certain level of pressure portraying a man like Roger Ailes.
It was exciting and terrifying at exactly the same time, and yes, it was a huge responsibility. He has such a reputation that when you google him, only about one thing comes up and it's not really about his achievements, it's about his demise [which concerned sexual harassment allegations]. Probably one thing that shocked me about him was that he loved show tunes and that he played piano.
Where do you get your news? Do you watch TV, read the newspaper or go online? Are you a news junkie?
I am certainly not a news junkie but given my age, I've grown up with the habit of morning newspapers. I like to turn the pages but it's been a long, long time since I've been able to trust anything that's written in a newspaper because of my own experience. If they are prepared to say, "Here is Russell in a New York nightclub", but I've been on my farm with my horses in Australia it's quite often clear to me that there isn't necessarily any level of truth to a story but just the need to have a story about a particular person.
What does it take to get you off that horse on the farm and on to a location far away?
I have always made my decisions in exactly the same way. I am a narrative-based actor; it's always about the words. I have made risky decisions in the past with something like Gladiator where we didn't really have a script but I had a sentence in my head, which was, "It's 184AD and you are playing a Roman general being directed by Ridley Scott", so I went with faith in that idea. I can never guess what I am going to do next; it just has to turn me on.
AdvertisementAdvertise with NZME.
I'm guessing you say no a lot?
Oh yeah, constantly. Sometimes I say no to begin with and then I ponder something for a while and then realise I said no because I was fearful of that subject matter and then I turn around and change my mind.
With two sons, do you take on any traditions your dad might have instigated?
Well, we don't have any Father's Day traditions, if that's what you mean. My dad was a simple fellow, he always asked for underwear and socks so that's all he ever got. I think at a certain time I broke with that tradition and I started buying him records because he was really into music, but he never had the time to get out to the record store himself. So I bought him a bunch of Charley Pride records and then Neil Diamond. My dad is in his 80s now, middle 80s. I'll have to think of something for the next Father's Day.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is a beloved figure around the world. What's your take on her?
She is very much a woman of the times and New Zealand is very fortunate to have her as their leader. I think there's already a movement in Australia, like, "Can we chuck out the one we got and have you as well?" I have lived in Australia most of my life so I don't vote in New Zealand elections, although I'm still a New Zealand citizen. I have lived in Australia for more than 90 per cent of my life so I actually consider myself an Australian, except when the All Blacks are playing!
The Loudest Voice is now screening on SoHo