Video:American Gangster - Russell Crowe Interviewwith Rebecca Murray
Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington team up for the second time in Universal Picture's crime drama, American Gangster, directed by Ridley Scott and based on true events.See Transcript
Transcript:American Gangster - Russell Crowe InterviewRebecca Murray from About.com Hollywood Movies at a special Los Angeles screening of American Gangster.
Russell Crowe ('Richie Roberts')
Russell Crowe: "Well, you know, it depends on the good guy. There's some compelling characters to play and all that sort of stuff. But when you get to play the bad guy, like I did in 3:10 to Yuma, it's usually sort of like the more complex the morality, the more juicy the gig is, and the more fun you can have with it. So I absolutely understood when I read the script Denzel's desire to play Frank Lucas. But see, way back in 1995 we did a movie together called Virtuosity and he said to me at one point, 'Man, I wish I was playing your role,' because I was just having so much fun with it. I was playing a combination of 200 different serial killers or whatever, so there was just basically nothing I couldn't do. So when I read this script I went, 'You know what? If I was Denzel I'd be busting to play this character.' So I understood it from that point of view.
I got onboard with the film, which helped them solidify the financing and all that sort of stuff basically because I'm paying him back the loyalty from 12 years ago, you know, when I was the bad guy and he was the cop. So this time I was the cop and he was the bad guy. Hopefully we don't wait another 12 years before we do it again."
You've worked with Ridley Scott before. Do you guys still challenge each other or is it just an easy-flowing relationship?
Russell Crowe: "Totally. Well the relationship is easy but it's based on that sort of challenge. People say to me, 'Oh, so does that mean that you and Ridley just agree on everything?' Absolutely not. We see things from a completely different perspective. But if the two of us both focus on something, we're bound to get something good out of it. You know what I mean?
I just love working with him. He's very open for me. He respects my storytelling sense and all that sort of stuff, and he throws extra responsibility at me. I'm a 43-year-old man, a father of two and stuff like that, and the idea of just sitting in the trailer twiddling my thumbs waiting to do a scene is just not fulfilling in the day. So when he says, 'Look, here's a problem I've got. Help me solve it,' I'm up for it."
And the fascination people have with gangsters
Russell Crowe: "Well I just think everybody has that fascination, people that sort of make that decision to live outside the law, that 1%, particularly if it's a guy like Frank Lucas and you can live outside the law and earn hundreds of millions of dollars. I mean, people are pretty fascinated by that."
Jon Polito ('Rossi')
Working with Ridley Scott on this film, what was he like?
Jon Polito: "I've just said that Ridley was like Ridley Scott is sort of like he seems so gentlemanly, so sweet, but there's a lion inside. There's so much power inside so you kind of feel like you're being directed very gently but should the wrong thing happen, the lion will roar. So I was watching my Ps and Qs, that's all I'm saying. No, no, he's a powerful man and a great gentleman and a great artist. I mean, these are the great artists. Three of the greatest artists are working within this film alone. And there's a lot of terrific people all the way around, a great cast all the way around, great crew, and it was New York which is like the greatest city in the world."
Composer Marc Streitenfeld
In a movie like this where the tone is so dark almost the entire movie, how do you come up with the music that goes with that?
Marc Streitenfeld: "How do I come up with dark? I think coming up with dark is pretty easy."
Is it really? You'd think that coming up with light and happy would be easier.
Marc Streitenfeld: "I think happy is harder."
How is it collaborating with Ridley Scott? You guys must have a shorthand developed by now.
Marc Streitenfeld: "Yeah, I think it's just kind of an understanding that we have when we deal with music. There's not that much exchange of, necessarily, words. We kind of look at a scene and I can kind of see where he's going with it. We talk about it for a little bit. I think we get each other in that sense."