Friday, July 6, 2012

Russell Crowe

The important thing to me is that I'm not driven by people's praise and I'm not slowed down by people's criticism. I'm just trying to work at the highest level I can.
-Russell Crowe 

A few weeks ago, I watched the Russell Crowe episode of Inside the Actor's Studio, and found it rather inspirational. First off, he's a great actor. I will entertain no debate on this subject. All I'm gonna do is hand you a copies of L.A. Confidential, Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World and Cinderella Man and then slap you across the face.

Crowe is a burly, fleshy guy, much like myself, and, frankly, that that makes him immediately inspirational, in a personal way. There's also the way he attacks roles in a physically that is incredibly appealing to me. Hell, he speaks about how gaining so much weight for The Insider seems to have permanently screwed up his metabolism. It's that "all in" sort of performance that speaks to me, and is, to some point, frustrating because I can't put my life on hold to make those kind of changes to myself. Still I aspire to it.

Plus, watching him talk about his process on ITAS left me with lots of bits and elements that I could work with. I was especially struck, probably because Frankenstein is on the horizon, by his comments about physical elements, and how you have to get them in place early. I expect to be making some major changes to my appearance for this show. Changes that, frankly, scare me, for various ego-driven reasons. It was through listening to Crowe talk about it that I realized I should embrace it, and go for it, as soon as I possibly can.

So I am. I may still be scared of it, but the sooner it's done, the sooner it won't matter to me. Then I can get on with seeing that person in the mirror.

On top of all this, there's an uncompromising quality to Crowe that I deeply admire. Even in the face of his more outrageous outbursts, I watch that interview with James Lipton, and I see a humble, work-focused guy. There's another quote I found online that goes very well with the one at the top of the page:

I don't make demands. I don't tell you how it should be. I'll give you options, and it's up to you to select or throw 'em away. That should be the headline: If you're insecure, don't call.
-Russell Crowe

There's a element there that corresponds with how I've tried to approach my career, such as it is. I do my work, I am who I am, I don't see any advantage to kissing ass or playing the sycophant. I'm not out to be an asshole, but I also "do unto others," if you take my meaning. Maybe that's why my career has never really skyrocketed, I hope not, but if that is the reason...So be it. At least I made the effort (nobody succeeds all the time) to keep my self worth in place.

If I like you, I like you, and if I don't, you likely won't see much of me. If you show faith in me, I will return it in full. I treasure my friends, try not to make enemies, and do my best to avoid them if I do make them. I may never be a superstar, but I want to live my life knowing I worked with people I loved and respected, and did work I was proud of. "The highest level I can," as the man said.

I really feel sorry for people who are, who divide their whole life up into 'things that I like' and 'things that I must do.' You're only here for a short time, mate. Learn to like it.
-Russell Crowe

I'm trying, buddy...I'm trying.

And, yes...I know this blog was horribly "man-crushy." I don't really care.

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