It’s hard being Russell Crowe. There are the early starts for makeup and costuming on set and the pressures of running a football club, not to mention repeated citizenship rejections from the country you’ve called home for 46 years.
But we didn’t realise just how disturbing it is, until now. In a recent interview with The Guardian to promote his directorial debut, The Water Diviner, Rusty outlined some genuinely worrying things that happened as his Hollywood career was taking off – things that would make a lesser man curl up in the corner.
Firstly, there were the prank calls from the late Michael Jackson, which went on, “For two or three fucking years,” Crowe says. “I never met him, never shook his hand, but he found out the name I stayed in hotels under, so it didn’t matter where I was.”
“He’d ring up [and] do this kind of thing, like you did when you were 10, you know. ‘Is Mr Wall there? Is Mrs Wall there? Are there any Walls there? Then what’s holding the roof up? Ha ha.’ You’re supposed to grow out of doing that, right?”
Yes, you’re absolutely right, Russell. But the late-night calls from the King of Pop are nothing compared to the threat from Al-Qaeda in 2001, which Rusty first revealed in 2005 and, “I still really don’t know to this day what the fuck that was all about.”
“All I know is, I arrived in LA, got to my hotel, as I’d done umpteen times before, started unpacking, and there was a knock at the door and a team of FBI guys wanted to sit down and discuss something with me. And then, for nearly two years, they were always around.”
It even affected the impression people got of Russell at the time: “I remember going to the Golden Globes and having, like, 16 security guys with me. I don’t even know why. They wouldn’t give me any details. And of course, people were like: ‘Look at him, he thinks he’s fucking Elvis.’ And then one day they just weren’t there any more.”
Life seems to have become more normal in the years since, thankfully, with Crowe rejecting the Hollywood lifestyle to base himself in Sydney: “It’s not healthy as me for an individual, to sleep in the office. There’s an ease that I have living in Australia.”
But the thought of MJ calling in the middle of the night is enough to make you lie awake in terror, is it not? For putting up with that alone, we salute you, Russell.