It was 10:35 a.m. on a shiny Tuesday morning as I got off the plane. Destination – the Land Down Under, which is a restaurant in Los Angeles, set trendily beneath a hobo bridge. I was there to meet local bad boy and film actor Russell Crowe. When I arrived at TLDU as it’s known by first-letter-loving L.A. types, I spotted the enigmatic Aussie. Known as one of the most prickly celebrity actors of his generation, it was once said that he was as prickly as one of the cacti that I think grow in the place where he’s from, Australia. That was said by me, to the guy sitting next to me on the plane, while I was thinking of things to write about this. As he smiled and waved, I knew I was in for what was to be the most difficult interview of my career.
Tom Henry: Hi, Mr. Crowe, I’m Tom Henry.
Russell Crowe: Hi mate. How was your flight?
RC: Oh, I’m sorry, did you not take a flight out here?
TH: Oh, the flight here? Yeah, it was okay.
RC: Should we get this thing started?
TH: Okay man, jeez, relax.
RC: Or we could eat first if you like.
TH: No, no. Go ahead, what do you want to talk about?
RC: Do you have questions, or… ?
TH: Oh right, forgot who I was dealing with here. Sure… what’s your favourite colour?
RC: I’d probably say blue.
TH: Wonderful! That’s front page material for sure buddy.
RC: Would green work better?
TH: Can we just move on to the next question, please?
RC: Sure thing.
TH: How would you respond to some of your critics who say, your existence really doesn’t matter much?
RC: Which critics said that?
TH: I read it.
RC: In what?
TH: My diary.
RC: Well, I suppose that’s fair. I mean, I’m an actor. I try to entertain people, but ultimately, a doctor is a much more important person than I am.
TH: You mean a snail doctor?
RC: What’s a snail doctor?
TH: An example of someone much more important than you.
RC: Is it a real thing?
TH: I hope so, someone has to fix that snail guy who delivers letters so slowly.
TH: The snail male.
TH: You make music too, right?
RC: Oh yeah mate, I’d love to talk about that a bit.
TH: How many encores have you not been asked to do?
RC: Hmm, I’m not sure how I would quantify that.
TH: Just take the total amount of shows you’ve ever played, then subtract zero.
RC: It’s great just to get up there and make something with your mates. It’s very therapeutic for me.
TH: I’ve actually heard your music referred to as therapeutic before.
RC: That’s great, if it helps people, that’s all I could ever ask for.
TH: Electroshock therapeutic.
TH: I rented a few of your movies the other night, in preparation.
TH: I have my own name for A Beautiful Mind, would you like to hear it?
TH: A Beautiful Kind – of DVD player, would be one that wasn’t able to play this movie.
RC: I’m sorry you didn’t enjoy it.
TH: I also watched Cinderella Man.
RC: I’m proud of that film.
TH: I was kind of tired because I didn’t start watching it until about 11:45 pm.
RC: That’s a bit late, mate.
TH: I was hoping by midnight, you’d turn into a pumpkin, and I could just enjoy Renee Zellweger and Paul Giamatti.
RC: Well, they’re great actors.
TH: Are you upset that The Wrestler took the same basic premise as The Gladiator?
RC: It’s just called Gladiator, I don’t think those two movies are very similar.
TH: Are you upset that Mickey Rourke is a bit better looking than you?
RC: I don’t really think about that kind of thing.
TH: Are you upset that Mickey Rourke is also a bit better looking than an old rotten log?
RC: I dunno mate.
TH: An old rotten log with ants crawling on it?
RC: Have I done something to agitate you?
TH: Why? What are you gonna do, call Wrigley Scott?
RC: His name is Ridley.
TH: You just want to disagree with everything I say. I was warned about you. I don’t need this. This interview’s over.
RC: I’m sorry it didn’t work out mate. Would you like my last shrimp?
TH: Sure, let me go throw it on the barbo.
RC: Did you mean to say barbie?
TH:Yeah, I’m gonna put the shrimp on a doll, like a little shrimp doll belt. You can’t treat people like this, man. TTYN.