Stop asking Russell Crowe about “Gladiator 2.”
“They should be fucking paying me for the amount of questions I am asked about a film I am not even in,” he told journalists at Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
“It has nothing to do with me. In that world, I am dead. Six feet under. But I do admit to a certain tinge of jealousy, because it reminds me of when I was younger and what it meant for me, in my life.”
“I don’t know anything about the cast, I don’t know anything about the plot. I am dead! But I know that if Ridley has decided to do a second part of the story, over 20 years later, he must have had very strong reasons. I can’t think of this movie being anything other than spectacular.”
Crowe has been a colorful presence at the Czech fest, accepting an award for outstanding contribution to world cinema and treating its audience to multiple foul-mouthed anecdotes – even when performing with his band Indoor Garden Party at the opening ceremony.
“I am the only Academy Award winner who got fucked by a spider in the neck,” he said to a howling crowd, recalling an especially unnerving encounter with an “aroused” tarantula on the set of Clare Peploe’s “Rough Magic,” which resulted in a painful rash and a whole lot of mixed feelings.
Battling never-ending questions about beer (“You people are obsessed. No more questions about beer, I don’t give a shit. If I had a choice, I would be drinking Guinness. Sorry”), he also discussed his love for music and future projects as a director, including “Last Breath” and unreleased documentaries.
“In order to release them, I have to make them legally comfortable. And to me, that destroys the point. So I just have to wait longer, wait for some people to die, and then I can put them out,” he teased.
Crowe, who will soon be seen in the likes of “Kraven the Hunter,” “The Georgetown Project” and “Nuremberg” – where he will play Hermann Göring, he said – also talked about Julius Avery’s “The Pope’s Exorcist,” in which his character uncovers a conspiracy the Vatican has tried to keep secret. He also mentioned the still-unresolved case of Emanuela Orlandi’s disappearance.
“We were told, very specifically: ‘Don’t mention that.’ So of course we fucking mentioned that. I am not saying it has to do with the movie, but I have heard about the Pope reopening a new investigation now to get to the bottom of it, as he should.”
He also took time to introduce the special screening of Peter Weir’s “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” opening up about the director’s painstaking attention to detail and the film’s fate.
“Peter slowed down the release. We finished production before ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ had started, but it got out before we did. Once people had a big laugh, it was difficult to get the general audience to take seriously whatever we were doing,” he said.
“It was such an expensive exercise for the studio that they decided to sell it as ‘the Gladiator goes to sea.’ It means that everybody got disappointed. That put off Peter Weir’s audience and it meant we were now playing to what I call ‘the dumb kids’.”
“It wasn’t an action movie: it was a poem, an essay about life on board a ship like that, at that time. About gallantry between men who understand that authority and order is required for everyone’s safety.”
But apart from recalling the past, Crowe also pondered his possible future, readying to turn 60 years old next year.
“You are standing in front of the mirror, and go: ‘Who the fuck is that?’ I am in that period now. I will take Ridley Scott as my role model: he is still discovering new things in his work. Or I will just stop and you will never hear from me again. I haven’t decided what it’s going to be. These are two very valid choices.”