| Russell Crowe in a scene from Master and Commander The Far Side of the World. (Reuters)
It was his 63rd day of being sober, and Russell Crowe seemed to like it. But before anyone thinks the Aussie Oscar winner has gone stone cold sober, his was “not an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) announcement.”
As he explained to a group of reporters, not drinking was all part of his training for boxing film Cinderella Man that again teams Crowe with director Ron Howard director of Beautiful Mind, the film for which he was nominated for a best actor Oscar. Crowe, 39, has the reputation of being a Hollywood bad boy and bar-room brawler, but marriage and impending fatherhood may be calming the star of seafaring tale Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, which opens in the US this week and is set for the Oscars in February.
Dressed in a crisp blue suit, Crowe declared: “This is my 63rd day without a drink,” and he joked through much of the news conference. His good humour was a far cry from two years ago when in a similar setting for Beautiful Mind, Crowe’s rumpled shirt hung over his jeans, and he scowled and grumbled through his 30-minute session.
He and his wife of seven months, Danielle Spencer, are expecting a baby boy in January and Crowe said that fatherhood won’t change him.
“It might change what is written about me, which has always been quite separate from who I am,” he said. Crowe said he is looking forward to gazing into his baby’s eyes and shaping the boy’s personality. “I’m looking forward to diapers. I’m looking forward to all of it,” he said.
About Danielle, he added: “I’m really enjoying watching my wife flower at the thought of being a mother.” I’'s hard to think Crowe hasn’t gone a little soft. Yet, when questions stray too far into fatherhood, the star of Master and Commander steers reporters back to the movie.
Master and Commander is based on Patrick ’Brian’s 20 books about the 19th century adventures of swaggering seafarer Jack Aubrey, captain of the British navy’s HMS Surprise, and Aubrey’s best friend, ship doctor Stephen Maturin.
Crowe is Aubrey and Beautiful Mind co-star Paul Bettany plays Maturin. “Lucky” Jack Aubrey is a hard-drinking man of the sea whose orders are to hunt down the French battleship Acheron off Brazil and sink her or capture her for England.
Early reviews put Weir’s take on 200-year-old seafaring on a steady course for Oscars. Daily Variety called the movie “thoroughly satisfying as an atypical adventure tale studded with unusual detailing and diverting sidelights.”