Russell Crowe is one of the biggest movie stars of his generation, finding equal success in Oscar-nominated dramas and comic book blockbusters. But while he has always made a point of pursuing roles in a wide range of genres, the actor is still annoyed by what he sees as attempts by the Australian film industry to typecast him early in his career.
Appearing on the Happy Sad Confused podcast to promote his role in “The Pope’s Exorcist,” Crowe recalled his early successes in Australia and the frustration he felt after only being offered heroic roles.
“I got to a point, I was only about seven lead roles in, and I had won a couple of those Australian Oscars,” Crowe said. “And a script arrived that gave me an opportunity to work with an actress who I really wanted to work with, so I did it. But then the next script arrived, and it was like a mirror of that script. So I was looking at that, and I was looking at the careers of other Australian actors. And I just realized that, even after seven roles, from an Australian industry perspective I was already in the place where they were happy and comfortable with what I’d done, and thought ‘We’ll just get you another role like that so you can be the guy that rides the horse again.'”
He continued: “At that point in time I was only in my late 20s. It was like ‘I’ve only just started doing this. I’m not ready to start repeating myself.’ So the only option left in front of me was to make movies in other places.”
Shortly after having that realization, Crowe took a trip to the 1991 Cannes Film Festival to promote his role in “Proof.” The actor said that the enthusiastic response he received from Americans on the Croisette made him believe that he could land more diverse roles if he moved to Hollywood.
“I just got the vibe at Cannes that so many Americans, industry people were coming up to me and talking to me not about one role, but about multiple things they had seen me in,” he said. “So I was just thinking, ‘Maybe I should go there.’ Because at that time in the 1990s, it just wasn’t a thing. You didn’t just go to Los Angeles and create something.”