“Extra’s” Jerry Penacoli sat down with Russell Crowe to talk about those Michael Jackson prank calls, and his directorial debut with “The Water Diviner.”
The actor, who never met the singer in person, described the calls as “sweet,” adding, “I always sort of took it good-naturedly because what I like about it was there was obviously something in me that he trusted, that I would get the joke or enjoy the connection, which I did.”
Russell confirmed that the King of Pop made the calls, explaining, “Yeah, for about two or three years.” He said the conversations were usually very pleasant, “Then he’d catch me off guard and I wouldn’t know what was going on, so I’d kind of get a bit terse and he’d go (in his best MJ voice) ‘Don’t worry, Russell, it’s only Michael,’ we’d have a little conversation, he’d tell me about whatever was going on.”
Discussing his new film, Crowe said he enjoyed being a director, joking that he has no problem borrowing techniques from some of the other great directors he has worked with. “Any set you go on you’re going to be learning… my joking answer is I have absolutely no problem stealing from anybody, if they’ve come up with a good solution that goes into the comedy computer and that will get used at some stage.”
In “The Water Diviner,” Russell plays an Australian farmer searching for his missing sons after a fierce battle during World War I, a role he can relate to as a father. “Certainly for me, when reading a story about a man with three boys who go away to war and they don’t come back, and the grief he has to deal with, as a father of two sons it hit me at a very essential level.”
“The Water Diviner” opens April 24.