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CROWE, RUSSELL Ė A BEAUTIFUL MIND

FINDING NASH
From The Insider to Gladiator, the world could see that Russell Crowe has range; and now with A Beautiful Mind, he shows he also has stamina and consistency as an actor who can tackle character roles and always come up with a star performance. But it takes a good director Ė and some work, as he explains to Andrew L. Urban.

Did you enjoy the process of making A Beautiful Mind?
I had a great time with Ron Howard, mate. A really good time.

Everybody says heís a terrific guyÖ
Oh, mate, itís not just that heís a terrific guy; heís a really skilled film craftsman. Thatís why we got on. Heís very confident about his knowledge, and about the things heís done in his career. So itís very easy to talk to him. Itís easy to have a disagreement that doesnít become anything more than Ö than Ö

A difference of opinionÖ
Exactly. And sharing of information. Considering how strange the script is and how strange the character was, we had a very easy time. And I think itís quite an important movie. That was the great thing about walking off that set; I felt that weíd done something important every day.

You do a lot of research sometimes for roles like thisÖ
Most of the time.

What research did you do for this one?
Well, I was faced with a bit of a dilemma in that even though John Forbes Nash was a famous figure within mathematical circles, he wasnít a public figure. Now weíre dealing with Princeton at the end of the 40s and early 50s and there is no footage available of him as a young man. Even though heís still alive, about 74 now, and I did happen to meet him. But unlike with The Insider, where I could examine this bloke two or three years after the situation happened, so he hadnít aged significantly. But I had black and white photographs of Nash as a young man so I could see Nash. I asked Ron to go and interview him with specific questions that I had, because Ronís more likely to get a more even, less adrenalised answer than if Iím sitting there asking the questions. The reason for the dilemma is that after 35 years of ageing and medication, and being quite heavily affected by the disease, he didnít appear to be the older man of the younger self. So I didnít want to take too much in of him as an older man because I had that journey to do. So I had to kind of imagine him as a younger man. And, as we had to do with a lot of the script, take the things we knew and make the rest of it up in order to give the audience, hopefully, the experience he went through. And thereís a couple of tricks in the movie that shock people every time itís screened.

So for you itís an important roleÖ
Well, the script was fantastic, and when you see the film youíll see what Iím talking about and the challenge that I faced and youíll know the beauty of the relationship between John and his wife Alicia.

This is a transcript of part of an interview recorded November 2001.

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On the set with director Ron Howard







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