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Russell Crowe: A Biography Hardcover – 17 Sep 2001
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The Australian actor who burst on to the Hollywood scene with his roles in LA Confidential and The Insider, not to mention an explosive Oscar-nominated performance in Gladiator is given in-depth biographical treatment in this book. From a small role in daytime soap Neighbours to "Sextest Man Alive", Crowe is a different kind of Hollywood star, reminiscent of the golden age of Hollywood, he has the charisma, talent and rugged charm of Bogart and Brando. Unlike so many of his contemporaries, he seems unwilling to succumb to the modern marketing gloss and hype, instead grounding himself on his ranch in New South Wales and choosing roles that are enigmatic, raw, challenging and always highly acclaimed.
About the Author
Stafford Hildred and Tim Ewbank set up the Wordstar entertainment partnership ten years ago. Both well-known show business journalists, they are the authors of best-selling biographies of John Thaw, David Jason, Joanna Lumley and Rod Stewart. They bring to this biography access to some two-and-a-half hours on tape of Russell Crowe talking about his life and career as well as an interview with his English grandmother, Joy, and interviews with co-stars and other professional colleagues.
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As I was reading this book I got the very distinct feeling that the only research tools they used were old media archives and more pleasantly sitting on a bar stool in Coffs Harbour collecting urban myths about him. Cleverly, it's very cosily written, as though the writer liked nothing better than to sit with Russell of an evening, shooting the breeze. But actually there has been no contribution from his family or friends (which is fairly telling), none is claimed but the writing style insinuates it. I felt that it was written with a weather-eye out for the lawyers, so there is nothing remotely outstanding about it, there is nothing there for Russell to object to. I was able, as I read, to pinpoint where the author got his information from, I did not need to check his listed sources to know what interviews he used and when he went to Maxcrowe for info. I was amazed however to see that one of the sources was Heat magazine for God's sake, the nastiest gossip rag to ever despoil a magazine rack! Any author who has to lower himself to using this integrity-free journalistic desert as a source is truly experiencing a dearth of information!
There were also far too few photographic plates (4 pages in total I think) if the idea was to sell this to hormonal Crowe fans, then this was a big oversight.
Although you wont find the real Russell Crowe in these pages - to be fair the author does point the way.....look at his song lyrics and you have the man.
What else? Well, how about film dialogue misquoted, film plot points inaccurate and, towards the end of the book, appaling errors in the timing of such well documented events as Crowe's shoulder surgery and the kidnap threat. There is nothing, repeat NOTHING here for Crowe fans that they can't find on the internet, particularly the excellent and comprehensive Maximum Crowe website. One star - and that's only for the photo on the cover!