Ron Howard on Russell’s injury - "...Howard points out
that boxing legend Jim Braddock is a role Crowe has "always wanted
to play. It's a shame he had the injury, but the guy he's playing
got injured all the time. He says that dealing with this injury is
helping him understand the heart and the spirit of the guy he's playing."
He adds, "That's a good way to rationalize it, isn't it?"
– Los Angeles Daily News, March 16, 2004
Crowe was a "driver," Gordon says, like a "dog with
a bone" on the speed bag. "When he was finished, he hit
the speed bag better than I could. He could make that bag sing."
They worked on footwork - he was a bit "heavy-footed" -
and other points, like the mechanics and sequences of throwing punches.
"He'd go through three or four T-shirts, and you could just wring
them out. It was impressive." – Wayne
“Before I started working with Russell people were saying,
“Oh, he’s a tough guy, he’s this, he’s that,
but let me tell you he was easy to work with, same as Muhammed Ali.”
“He is Braddock. If I’d had Russell when he was a kid
I coulda made a real fighter out of him” – Angelo Dundee,
trainer – Sports
Paul Giamatti on Russell: Giamatti says, "The first thing he
said was, 'I can just be a horrible, irascible guy, and I apologize
ahead of time if I get that way.' I had heard horror stories, but
I loved working with him." –Rolling
As for Crowe, Giamatti describes him as a "super complicated
guy, but really smart. I loved working with him and had more fun working
with him than anybody I think I have ever worked with. I play his
trainer, so everything I did was with him and I kind of loved him,
even though there was a lot about him that I can't even begin to understand
and he's a dangerously complicated guy! But from an acting point of
view, if you walk in the room and start throwing stuff at him, he
just loves it, because he seems to me like he is only really truly
happy when he's acting. Other than that, I don't think he is not a
happy guy." Paul
Giamatti interview, Dark Horizons
He’s a very interesting guy. He’s a complicated guy.
I didn’t have to fight him for Alpha Male supremacy. He does
do that and he’s the first person to admit that he does it.
But for some reason he was great with me and I ended up kind of loving
him, because he’s amazing to work with. He’s a very kind
guy, but he’s a very complicated guy. A lot of stuff gets blown
out of proportion. I saw things happen that when I read about them
in the paper they had no relation to what I saw happen. He gets a
bit of a bum rap. He’s complicated and there are people he wants
to pull the Alpha male thing with, why I don’t know. But I didn’t
have to. I think maybe he took pity on me, because he realized I was
the Zeta male. Giamatti
"Russell is very serious about the way that he approaches his
work and the way that his characters come to life, and his level of
commitment, in terms of how far he's willing to go to realise a character.
"Creatively, it's so much more satisfying to work with someone
like Russell, who really wants it to be honest and he wants the integrity
of the project to be maintained throughout.
"He is so kind and so understanding of everybody else's position,
and it's just such a gift." – Renee Zellweger:
Describing Crowe as "an extraordinary talent", she adds:
"Every now and then, on the set with another actor, it seems
that whatever you're trying to do that day just transcends.
"The lights, the people around just all disappear and that
set goes on with you in this other place - and it happened so much
"He just has this ability to disappear into whatever it is
that you're trying to make that day. I wish everybody could have
seen what he did.
"He became a boxer, rode his bike to work every day, was boxing
in the ring at six o'clock in the morning most days, and competing
with some of the best of them, you know?" – Renee Zellweger,
The Sunday Telegraph, October 24, 2004
"Russell is intense. I admire the guy; he is incredibly talented.
Some days he is in a certain mood and you don't want to bother him.
Other days, he is the life of the party, gregarious. He has a huge
responsibility. He is in every scene." – Fulvio Cecere,