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Would you say no to Russell Crowe? Us either, so when he politely asked if we minded he smoked during the interview, we of course quickly gave our consent and subconsciously agreed to smoke also if he so requested, and we do not smoke. But c’mon…it’s Russell Crowe.
Never the less, whether it was the calm of the nicotine, anger management, or the good vibe being around Ryan Gosling, Russell was in great spirits, snuffing out the rumors he is a scary guy and we had a blast. Equally impressive is the fitness regimen Crowe put in while working on The Nice Guys, biking from his hotel to the set each day. We get into all of that along with fatherhood and which bike in his collection is his favorite.
Q: It’s interesting they made Ryan (Gosling, co-star) the chain smoker instead of you.
It was unbelievable the way he did that. He came in, he was smoking that much, and in the millisecond we finished that film, I don’t think he’s touched a cigarette since.
Q: Is that something you miss from the ‘70s? The fact that you could smoke anywhere?
It’s something that should be pointed out, I think. Wherever you go in the world, to places you go where you still have to smoke in licensed premise, those are the places where bars are happy [laughs]. Find me a happy bar in Los Angeles. There’s a bunch of happy people on the street or standing around having a cigarette.
Q: What about vaping?
Well, they have no empirical evidence to say whether it’s a positive or a negative yet. Yes, ok, it’s not a smoke based thing, so there’s a logic to that. It’s water vapor, but there is no empirical evidence, no studies done to show what remains in your system. Now they’ve decided they’re exactly the same, which I think is one set of dumb shit compounded by another set of dumb shit.
Q: This film is set in the 70’s; As a musician as well as an actor, are you big fan of 70’s music?
I loved the soundtrack. I’m definitely going to get it on vinyl.
Q: You’re into vinyl?
Yeah, I did this scene a couple years ago and I just decided I was going to recreate the record collection of my youth. I’m about a third of the way through, so far, but I keep getting other stuff that I never had when I was younger. You can get so much stuff now. For example, one thing that I had not done probably since 1978—it’s probably uncalled for some people. If you have a big enough sound system, if you listened to Meatloaf’s “Bad out of Hell” from beginning to end, that is an immense record. It’s immense, because you remember that was the hit single, but every single song on that is just crammed full of pop beauty, little riff lines, lines of lyrics and hooks, gigantic chorus, and bridges from hell. This is a great record.
Q: We heard you rode on your bike each day from your hotel to the set, was that to get in your exercise?
When I do things like that, when I grow for a character, I peek out on the day I start shooting and then I start to get strong. Any city I’m in, where ever I am in the world, I like to learn the north, south, east, west of that city and the best way to do that is on a bicycle.
Q: How many miles were you doing a day?
About a hundred kilometers per week. So like 60-70 miles a week. Some weeks more because we’d be working way out of town. We did one week out on Stone Mountain, so that was a long ass road.
Q: What kind of bike do you have? Do you bring your own bike to each location?
Yeah. I have a mountain bike. I like to have a mountain bike because it doesn’t matter what the terrain is. I can be on the road, I can go off road. My frame doesn’t suit a road like a cruiser bike. I don’t like that tilted forward position. I know it’s going to sound weird, but I like the safety aspect of having a wider tire, particularly when you’re riding in a town like New York because it’s so unfinished. You’ll come around a corner and there’s some holes you’re going to fall into. So yeah, I ride a Scott Mountain Bike.
Q: Can you talk about working in Fathers and Daughters? Somehow the film has not released in US yet but other countries already opened. I have been looking forward to seeing it.
Fathers and Daughters is a beautiful movie. I don’t really understand what’s happened with that film, because Gabriele Muccino has made beautiful film. She’s made a surprising gorgeous film for a person of a certain age — one of the things I suppose about the films is it’s very challenging in some aspects and possibly too simple in its conclusion for some people. But I think it’s a beautiful movie and the little girl that I work with on that film, Kylie Rogers, is one of the greatest actresses I’ve ever met. She’s spectacular.
Q: Speaking about fatherhood, what type of dad are you in real life?
Well, if you talk to my ex-wife, she’ll give you a bad score card [laughs]. When I’m with my kids — I always hear people talking about how together they are– we talk as freely as we can, as often I can be with them, but at the same time it’s very important that they take and understand that I have certain privileges in life and I define for them what those privileges are. Here it is, we’re doing this particular thing, this is who you need to be grateful to, because that’s something that’s very important. They’re both very grounded. They’ve experienced a lot of amazing thing because of my job, but they don’t take anything for granted and they’re humble about their place in the world and grateful for the things that come their way, if I can just keep them in that place [laughs], we’ll be good.
Q: Having already established your career, won an Academy Award, directed a film, what are your goals for the future?
I’ve never been that thorough. There are definitely people who make a list of the directors they want to work with, but I’ve never been that actor that wants to do my version of ‘Hamlet’. I’ve never been that kind. I respond to the material that I get sent. I either like it or I don’t like it. It doesn’t matter what the pedigree is or who else is in the movie. All those considerations are later. If I read a script and I respond to the narrative at a very basic level, then that’s the movie that I’m going to do.
The Nice Guys opens theaters on May 20th.