Transcript of AOL Chat Session with Russell Crowe and Brent Leonard

Copyright 1995, Oldsmobile; licensed to America Online, Inc.

OnlineHost: The auditorium consists of two major areas: the: audience, where you are right now, and the stage,: where the speakers appear. Text which you type: onscreen shows only to those in your row, prefaced: by the row number in parentheses, such as (2) if: you are in row 2. To interact with the speaker,: use the Interact icon on your screen. To send your question to the speaker, click on: the Interact icon, then use the Ask a Question option.

Online Host: Russell Crowe made his U.S. film debut opposite: Sharon Stone and Gene Hackman in "The Quick and the Dead." Crowe was recognized by the Australian Film Institute three consecutive years, 1990-1992, receiving a Best Actor nomination for "The Crossing, " winning a Best Supporting Actor award for "Proof," and winning a Best Actor award for: "Romper Stomper." Among his other accolades is a1993 Seattle International Film Festival Best: Actor award. The New Zealand-born, Australian-raised actor recently starred in "The Sum of Us" with Jack Thompson. Crowe's upcoming films include "Rough Magic" with Bridget Fonda and "No Way Back" with Michael Lerner. Crowe has also appeared in Australian television and stage productions, including the miniseries, "Brides of Christ."

OnlineHost: Director Brett Leonard made his motion picture: debut as director/co-writer of "The Lawnmower Man", starring Jeff Fahey and Pierce Brosnan. Thc film helped popularize the concept of virtual reality and featured 20 minutes of dazzling computer graphics and every form of digital manipulation imaginable. His second film, "Hideaway," starring Jeff Goldblum and Christine Lahti, was released earlier this year. Leonard also conceived and directed for Peter Gabriel and Pepsi Co. the ride film, "Kiss The Frog." The project was highlighted on Gabriel's recent tour and was nominated for two MTV Awards, winning for Best Special Effects.

OnlineHost:Leonard and partner Michael Lewis are the creators of L3 Communications, a unique link-up of high-tech companies to develop film and multi-media: projects. Please welcome Russell Crowe and Brett Leonard to the Olds Celebrity Circle!

CelebCrcle: Welcome, guys! Glad you could join us!

BrettnRuss: Hello! This is Brett and Russ, aka SID 6.7, the worst cyber villain ever created!

CelebCrcle: The first question is from DianeSO19.

Question: This is for Russell. You've been awfully busy making films these last few years It must put a damper on your social life. Are you married or currently involved with anyone? If so, how do they feel about your busy schedule?

BrettnRuss: R: No I'm not married. And funnily enough, I'm not currentIy involved with anybody right at this precise particular second. But you never know.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from Milce287.

Question: Was it hard being the character of a serial killer?

BrettnRuss: R: SID isn't affected by guilt or remorse or any of those pathetic human traits that we all carry around.: So, that's a yes.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from Kimberlic.

Question: Brett, were you satisfied with how Lawnower Man was received?

BrettnRuss: B: Yes. It was amazing to experience the concept of virtual reality get out there at the same time the movie was out there. That experience has continued throughout today. When you make a film, it's like letting a child out into the world, it makes friends, it makes enemies, you ultimately love it.

CelebCrcle: The next question is. from BUZZERUX.

Question: This question is for both of you...if you could relive one of your best moments in your life which one would you choose? Tell us about it.

BrettnRuss: R: I worked as a cow cocky (wrangler) on a high country property on the border of New South Wales and Victoria in Australia in late summer when the mountains still had the remnants of snow and we had to bring down a couple of hundred head of cattle who'd been let loose some two and a half years earlier. They had a really bad attitude and didn't particularly wantto see any human beings. But on a daily basis, even though it was hard work it's such beautiful country that it was a: transcendental arabesque.

B: It would have to be finding this amazing hidden waterfall pool high up in the Maui forest on the: Kipahulu side of the island. I had a drum and I played better than I've ever played before at that spot.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from DanielD23.

Question: what do you like best, playing the protagonist or villain?

BrettnRuss: It all depends on what the plot is and the requirements of the individual character. I've only played two baddies. That is because you really have to have what I call the ammunition built into the character. Just yelling and screaming and waving a gun around doth not a bad guy maketh You have to have something in the ideology or the essential motivations of the character that take it beyond the average. But that is the same of both protagonists and villain, heroes and bad boys, or bad girls. But I haven't been asked to play a bad girl lately.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from AkBigger.

Question: I have yet to see the movie. It is cold up here in Alaska. What was your favorite stunt?

BrettnRuss: There's one part of thc movie where SID is diced into a number of different pieces, Barbecue friendly and those not barbecue friendly. So the actual stunt leading up to that was shot over a number of weeks and young Brett did a damn fine job connecting it together. The barbecue reference is specifically to warm you up. Thank me later.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from DMGabe.

Question: Exactly how hard is it or what does a person need to do to get into the movie business?

BrettnRuss: It is a very difficult business. But since I'm someone who started at the bottom of the ladder and just worked my way up and have seen my dream come true, I would never discourage anyone from trying to follow their creative impulse to make films. Because, if it's strong enough, and you're tenacious enough, it absolutely can happen. That's what happened to me, and it's the biggest fun I could possibly imagine. So go for it!


CelebCrcle: The next question is from Mike287.

Question: What do you like to do in your spare time?

BrettnRuss: R: Play guitar, sing really sappy love songs to nobody in particular, walk in places where I have something to look at, sitting in dark corners and having damn good think.

B: Finding a rhythm on a drum and losing myself into it completely. Everything comes out of that... beat.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from LisaYV.

Question: How did you like working with Sharon Stone and Gene never?

BrettnRuss: I have never known the extraordinary out-of-body experience that sandwich fillings go through on a daily basis. Yet on Quick and the Dead, I got to experience that. [d like to thank the Director Sam Raimi, God, and the Earl of Sandwich. Oh, and my mom.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from WamyL.

Question: IS Virtuosity like Lawnmower Man?

BrettnRuss: B: No, it is very different kind of film, both from an aesthetic level, genre, and in how virtual reality is depicted in the story. Lawnmower Man was a celebration of the computer graphic aesthetic and in Virtuosity, we're dealing with a much more photo realistic and subtle use of digital effects to indicate a virtual world. It is also a headlong slamride action film, which is very different in pace and tone to the Lawnmower Man which I saw more as a Grimm's fairy tale about virtual reality. So they both have VR, but are completely different films.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from ILikeToast.

Question: If you had a choice between toast or a bagel, which would you pick?

BrettnRuss: R: Toast, with Vegimite. B: Bagel.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from Sarumann

Question: How did you get to land a job opposite Denzel Washington?

BrettnRuss: I've actually done 15 movies, which have been released to varying degrees of critical and audience response. A lot of the films I've done have had what they call great legs on the International Festival Circuit. Brett saw a film I did called Romper Stomper and because he's a sick SOB, he gave me a call. This was the beginning of a tortuous and quite terrifying year of what would loosely be described: as collaboration. And he's still going through it. Poor bugger.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from Yuricom.

Question: Is the movie for kids, does it contain any nudity?

BrettnRuss: The movie is very intense, and has at its core a theme about the nature of violence itself. So it is a violent film. Every parent will have to use their own discretion as to what their child is ready to see and experience. Oh yeah, you do get to see SID 6.7's butt fresh out of the oven.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from WamyL.

Question: Are you in Lawnmower Man 2?

BrettnRuss: R: No, and I wasn't in Lawnmower Man I either. And Brett has nothing to do with Lawnmower Man II either. We hear it sucks.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from Tutifeuti.

Question: Russell - how was it different working in a movie like Virtuosity, where there are so many computer generated special effects and where sometimes you have to act with and respond to something that's not there?

BrettnRuss: A lot of the time when you're working in cinema, you'd be surprised at how many scenes you have to do talking to nothing, or whispering murmurs of love into a piece of yellow tape stuck on the side of a camera. Your characters are driven internally and from that point you use your imagination.

B: As a director I always see that thing as so funny because the very thing actors do is imagine. at many levels of their personality. So, of course, they're able to imagine something that's not there with great aplomb.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from DianeSOl9.

Question: Russell, how does working with American filmmakers vary with, for example Australian, if at all? I for one, hope to see a lot more of you.

BrettnRuss: Thanks, Di, me old mate.: Mainly in term' of budget, and filmmakers here get to actually create the environment for you. Because of those same budget restrictions, you tend to do films that are purely character driven and reality based in Australia. Surprise, surprise, playing a synthetic character that is a combination of 183 different personalities is dramatically different from the films I've done before this.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from Bones7441.

Question: To both of you what was the experience like to work with Denzel Washington?

BrettnRuss: R: DenzeI ia a wonderful actor, extremely open and communicative fellow thespian. So this makes the working relationship extremely enjoyable. With the hours that you work on a feature film, it really helps to have someone who likes to approach things at the same level of intensity. And added to that, an

BrettnRuss: B: Denzel is one of the best actors of his generation. So working with him as a director we.: a great, expanding experience for me. His focus and intense desire for voracity in every moment, even when it is in such a fantastic context, as is portrayed in this film, is one of the things that: I feel make the film most unique. And to see him execute his energy with Russells' energy as SID 6.7, was the kind of maximum acting chops experience that a filmmaker can have.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from AFSherwin.

Question: Russell, what's your favorite movie that you've been in?

BrettnRuss: As I'm sitting next to Brett- Leonard right now, you put me in hard position.: However, there is a little independent Australian movie called Love in Limbo, which was only released in Australia, Iceland, and part of Fiji. So it' s pretty impossible to get here. I play an anally- retentive Welsh-Baptist virgin who manages to keep his virginity in tact through the whole film, even though the whole point of the plot is the loss of virginity and innocence It's very funny and it was the first time I got to really go haywire on celluloid. But in terms of the complete experience including my relationship with fellow cast and director, nothing beats the big V. Do you like that, Brett?

BrettnRuss: B: You're nothing but a kissass It's a good thing you can act.

BrettnRuss: R: You're lucky I'm still not playing SID. Then I would probably be a BlTEass!

CelebCrcle: The next question is from Bones7441

Question: Mr. Crowe, your suave personality in this film seems like the kind that gets much attention in the Hollywood industry. Do you believe that you have found your niche with this type of character?

BrettnRuss: It's interesting that you're focusing on the suave aspects of SID and not the terrifying. I don't ever wish to limit my own possibilities in terms of the broad palette from which I can select future characters.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from AFSHERWIN.

QUESTION: Russell what 's your favorite movie of all time?

BrettnRuss: A cross between On The Waterfront Papillion and Princess Bride. (Russell)

BrettnRuss: B: Mine are 2001 Space Odyssey, Good Fellows, Dr. Strangelove, Taxi Driver, Clockwork Orange, Mean Streets you get the drift... (Good Fellas) sorry

CelebCrcle: The next question is from Bones7441.

Question: Brett did you find any scenes particularly difficult to film in this movie?

BrettnRuss: The whole %^&*( thing!: This is a nonstop action film. Every scene was a glorious battle. And I do mean glorious.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from JillSchm.

Question: I manage a radio station which is promoting your new film. We will have 4 monitors set up in the Lobby for people to surf the net and experience video communications prior to watching the: premiere. Did you create this film to educate about computers?

BrettnRuss: No. This film is an allegory about our media cultures obsessive focus on aberrant human psychology and the nature of violence. It 's also a complete action thrill ride where those sub-themes hopefully inform the rush of the film.

CelebCrcle:Just time for a few more questions folks!! The next question is from BrianD170.

Question: Brett: I have to ask; How could you guys possibly got the movie version of "Lawnmower.."out of King s short story?

BrettnRuss: I was brought Stephen King's short story 'The Lawnmower Man' and was asked by the Executive Producers to make a movie from this short story. I told them, although I could incorporate some of the action of this ten page short story, namely, a lawnmower chasing a guy through a house, I could not base an entire feature film around that singular concept. So I added the virtual reality components to the story to expand it enough to make it an interesting feature film.

CelebCrcle: The next question is from SwoopBacO.

Question: Were you hesitant at first to work on a movie dealing with computers since they are always different:

BrettnRuss: B: Making films has always been a technological art form and inherently difficult because of the unique synergies you have to create in order to get one done.

CelebCrcle:Well, we're just about out of time...any closing comments for us tonight?

BrettnRuss: Anybody out there that wants the last chance for action this summer go see Virtuosity. Russell Crowe is the ultimate villain of the summer of '95. (Brett.) Night John boy! (Russell)

CelebCrcle: Thanks for joining us, and good luck in the future!

Online Host: Our thanks to Russell Crowe and Brett Leonard for: joining us in the Celebrity Circle. Be sure to stop back tomorrow when Oldsmobile shines the spotlight on another luminary from the world of entertainment. Thank you and good night!

Online Host: Copyright 1995 Oldsmobile; licensed to America Online, Inc