Conan: We're back folks. Ladies and gentlemen, our next guest has appeared in the films, The Quick and the Dead, and The Sum of Us. Currently, he can be seen playing a cyber-serial killer in the new film, Virtuosity, let's take a look.....[cut to clip of Lindemeyer and SID,ending with 'oh my god'...'and which god would that be?' Conan shakes his head, he's so impressed]. Please welcome, Russell Crowe!!![audience applauds. RC enters wearing blue workshirt over maroon t-shirt, with blue jeans. He has a scruffy beard.].
Conan:Good to meet you
Russell: Nice to meet you. Actually, I owe you a great deal of thanks, cos we did a full cyber-scan compilation of Jack Lords, James Brown and yourself to get SID's hairdo.[laughter]
Conan: Oh yeah,thanks.Thank you. At last some hair compliments.
Russell: We really went for the body[not sure on this, it was mumbled]
Conan: Oh really? Excellent. This is, actually I saw you had a nice kind of a wave going in this movie.
Russell: The 'do from hell. No matter you know backflips, whatever you want to do, shooting at Denzel. NOTHING MOVES.
Conan: Really? So they just put alot of mousse and gel in there?
Russell: Uhh, yeah. And sort of like a very light liquid cement thing.
Conan: I use that too. It's very helpful.
Russell: Industrial strength.
Conan: Yeah. Now, in this movie, you mention, uh, you bring up the point. You play a guy who has been put together. You're a composite of a hundred and eighty-three of the world's worst serial killers.
Russell: Yeah, it's a little broader than that. I mean it is based the majority on killers, people like Richard Specs,uh, Eileen Warnotz, Berkowitz, Dahmer, Bundy. But then you have like uh, political figures like Hitler and Stalin,uhh..
Conan: So it's a fun guy to have around.[audience laughs]. It's a lot of fun at a party.
Russell: It's also balanced. I mean there's a little bit of Nancy Reagan, there's a little bit of my dentist.
Conan: Hey! My god! Leave your dentist out of this![audience and Russell laugh] Really? You threw him in there too?
Russell: Well, I mean this is a very mean character you're talking about, and I don't think anyone that mean is going to kill that many people can actually survive without having just a touch of the old dentist.
Conan: Yeah, [laughs], does a little molar work in his spare time.
Russell: [laughs], a root canal.
Conan: Now, so as an actor, how do you approach that when they tell, well basically what's my character gonna say, a hundred and eighty-three of the world's worst serial killers. I mean, so you're just trying to act as completely evil as you can, right? The whole two hours of the movie.
Russell: Ummm...not necessarily. The research you do within the individual characters is find the little personality things that you can use, little kinda statements that people have made about themselves, and all that sort of stuff. And you sort of apply them all together. But the main thing about SID tho', is within the program there's no sort of silly things like regret, conscience, human remorse, anything like that, so basically the platform you jump off is just pure enjoyment, where terrorizing the piss out of people is absolutely funny.[audience laughs, except for one guy who cheers]
Conan: He just loves that.[more laughter]
Russell: [waving arm in direction of guy who cheered] See? everybody knows that!
Conan: You hit a nerve, yeah. One guy liked that a little TOO much in the audience. Yeah! Finally! Someone with MY philosophy....Now, uh, you had to do a screen test for this movie? Cos Denzel Washington, big star, one of the biggest stars going right now. What was that like?
Russell: uhh, well see I met the director first, seven months before we actually shot. It took him seven months to convince the studio that they should use me. And the last part of that was doing a screen test with Denzel. And the very first thing we did was this scene where there's like this wire cage between us, and the first time I did it sort of low-key, and all that sort of stuff. The second time, now I was going to pump it up a little bit. I'm gonna do a little bit of acting. So the director says 'action', and I jump down off this thing and start screaming at him, and the very first word I say, this little piece of spittle comes out of my mouth, and winds its way very athletically through the wire fence and goes [claps hand to mouth] onto Denzel's mouth.[audience laughs]
Conan: Oh my god![while laughing]
Russell: I've just met the guy.
Conan: You're trying to get a job, and you SPIT on Denzel Washington.
Russell: And now see, 99% of actors, would have just been like out of there you know? He just stayed in there, cos he knows it's like my screen test, the camera is on me. So he's like right there, does the line. Absolutely cool. The director says 'cut', and he goes, 'oboolaboolaboola' [rubs at mouth frantically with both hands while shaking head. everyone laughs]. And then he looks at me very seriously and says, 'you know, I love the taste of warm saliva in the morning'.[Conan and audience laugh]
Conan: And you knew then that you two had connected.
Russell: Absolutely. That was there. We bonded.
Conan: So now you're going to spit on everybody.
Russell: He swallowed my spit.
Conan: Hey! Whatever works for you. That's important. Now, you're from uh, Australia.
Russell: I was actually born in New Zealand, but I grew up in Australia.
Conan: Let me ask you something. A movie came out a little while ago,Muriel's Wedding. A fantastic movie, and it seemed very true. It seemed like it took a lot of real life stuff from Australia, and growing up in Australia.
Russell: Every single one of those people you can find on every street corner.
Conan: Really? Now that made me curious. In the movie, the heroine, the protagonist, is fascinated with Abba. And I was curious, do people in Australia, are they really nuts about Abba?
Russell: When Abba first came out, their first album, they had seven consecutive number one hits in Australia. And if you're thinking about this, at that stage, there were only Sweden and Australia that were buying Abba records. And like everything they did was totally phonetic. And I think it probably had to do with one of the tracks on the first album, which was 'Bang a Boomerang'.
Conan: That's the key really? To being a big hit in Australia. Just mention boomerang and they clutch you to their breasts?
Russell: Not necessarily, but I think that the thought of four Swedish people singing 'Bang a Boomerang', which kind of makes no sense whatsoever, cos actually....you know what they call a boomerang if it doesn't come back?
Conan: What's that?
Russell: A stick.[laughter]
Conan: Makes sense.
Russell: A little Australian humour.
Conan: How many boomerang jokes are there in Australia? That's number one thousand, five hundred sixty-two. Now you had a little bit of a rock band going when you were growing up in Australia, didn't you? You had some success in New Zealand?
Russell: uh, well in New Zealand yeah. For awhile I worked under the, arrwoo, yeah. Here we go, true confession. [crosses heart, looks skyward] I worked under the name Rus LeRoc for awhile. And I released a few records, and they all went rocketing straight to the bottom of the charts.[laughter]
Conan: I love that. 'Rocketing'. It's climbing right to the bottom, very quickly.
Russell: New Zealand has a great history of musicians and bands and stuff.
Conan: Men at Work
Russell: Uh, they're Australian.[laughter]
Russell: Split Enz, tho'.
Russell: Split Enz, Crowded House
Russell: No, they're Australian.[more laughter]
Conan: The Boomerangs? Yeah, they're big.[Russell laughs]. Anyway, continue. Sorry
Russell: Yeah, so I actually have two or three of the worst recordings in the history of the New Zealand music industry. I've got that whole bottom end covered.
Conan: Do you actually have a CD of your worst songs?
Russell: They wouldn't release my [blank] on CD!!![Conan and audience laugh] That's an expensive medium!! I'd be lucky if someone writes out the lyrics and photocopies them.
Conan: They, uh, they told you we were a cable show, didn't they?[Russell and audience laugh] You got that wrong. Alright, uh, best of luck with the movie. It's Virtuosity and uh, with Denzel Washington and yourself. This is very exciting. This is a big movie. What, what are you reaching for?[Russell is reaching into his shirt front pocket, and pulling something out].
Russell: I've brought you a little present.
Conan: What is it?
Russell:It's kinda like a, well it's actually a concentrated yeast extract that we use in Australia called.....Vegemite![holds up jar next to face, commercial-style. audience groans, some clap]
Conan: You know what? I wish more of my guests would bring a concentrated yeast extract. I really do. [Russell and audience are laughing] It's the least they could do. Really? Try it?
Russell: It has the consistency of sumpoil[my note-not sure on this]
Conan: [opens jar, and sticks tongue into it]. THAT is the most disgusting thing I've ever tasted.[laughter] It really is bad. Andy, you want to try it?[extends jar over to Andy]
Andy: Yeah, now that you got your TONGUE on it![laughter]
Conan: Come on! What are you talking about?[audience is cheering]. Try it. He swapped spit with Denzel Washington. [Andy takes jar, gingerly dips pinky into it, tastes, and makes a face. audience laughs]. That is really bad isn't it?
Andy: It's like soy pudding[audience is still laughing]
Conan:Yeah, it is really...
Russell: It's got alot of vitamin B in it.
Conan: Yeah, I'm sure it does.
Russell: About four thousand times your requirements for your whole life.
Conan: Well, I'm going to spackle my bathroom with this during the break[puts Vegemite aside, audience laughs]. Anyway, Russell Crowe, very nice to meet you.[audience cheers enthusiastically].
Russell: Very nice to meet you.
Conan: Good luck with the film. We'll be back with Ed Burns! We'll see you in a minute.
as seen on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, original air date August 7,1995