Jil Derryberry: How did you get started as a child actor in Australia twenty-five years ago?
Russell Crowe: My parents were movie-set caterers. It became apparent to me that acting was a really fun thing to do. And when you're six years old and three feet tall, that's a good enough damn reason.
JD: I noted that when you were a rock singer you were known by the name Rus Le Roc.
RC: Can we just talk about acting?
JD: Now, you're treading the line between being a much-respected art house actor and an up-and-coming Hollywood leading man. Which way do you lean?
RC: I want to play strong characters in movies that are clever, smart, and driven by and individual with something to say. Whether those films end up in cinema A or cinema B is not my concern.
JD: At Sharon Stone's request, you made your American film debut in The Quick and the Dead. Did you find her intimidating?
RC: Sharon doesn't scare me. She knew that no matter what happened on the set, I was still going to go about my job, regardles of the fact that she is, you know, Sharon Stone.
JD: You've played everything from an anal retentive Baptist virgin in Love in Limbo to what's been called the "most menacing dishwasher ever" in Proof. Is there anything you wouldn't do?
RC: I wouldn't play a weak bad guy; there's nothing more boring than that. You've got to have the chops, but they've got to be built into the script too.
JD: Speaking of chops, who's worse: Hando, the neo-Nazi skinhead gang leader you played in Romper Stomper, or Sid 6.7 Virtuosity's computer-generated villain?
RC: hando's a street-level tabby cat with an attitude. Sid's the king of the jungle.
JD: How come you weren't cast as one of the drag queens in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert?
RC: The director, Stephen Elliott, met me when I was bald and covered in tattoos. He said he'd never be able to imagine me in women's clothing. Ludicrous--I did The Rocky Horror Sho onstage for a couple of years.
JD: And stardom?
RC: When it comes to Hollywood actors, I'm at the back of the car park holding the valet parking stubs. Only if everybody else is busy or distracted can I get a car out of the park and drive home.