Human Interest

Russell Crowe on gauging success, taxing the rich

By Gonzalo Sánchez

Rome, Oct 18 (EFE).- He may be one of the most famous actors in the world but Russell Crowe is crystal clear in his belief that success is not measured by the opinions of others.

“I think measurement of success is an individual judgment, you don’t require somebody else’s list of achievements in order for you to be happy,” Crowe tells Efe in an interview in Rome ahead of the screening of Poker Face, which he directed and stars in.

“My success, I don’t judge from external sources, I don’t care if people agree with what I say, I don’t care if people praise me or pour shit on me, I just get about doing what I think has some sort of significance for me,” he adds.

Although he downplays plaudits, his ties to Rome through his role as Maximus Decimus Meridius in the 2000 hit Gladiator led the Eternal City to grant him the title of ambassador.

Such is his bond with the Italian capital that Crowe selected the 2022 Rome Film Fest to premiere his latest movie.

Leading a cast that includes Elsa Pataky and Liam Hemsworth, Crowe plays the role of an Internet gambling tycoon who gathers his friends for a high stakes game of poker, but in order to win the players must give up their secrets.

The project fell into Crowe’s hands after the original director pulled out.

“It’s not something I built, I didn’t build it from the ground, it came to me as a project in distress that needed somebody to take it over, and, like a crazy man, I said yes,” Crowe tells Efe.

“I have a deep love and belief in cinema as a fluid art form so I knew no matter what time I had or what limited resources I had, if I turned my mind to it I could pull something out of the subject matter.”

It is only the second time Crowe, 58, has both directed and starred in a film, following his directorial debut, The Water Diviner, released in 2014.

In Poker Face, Crowe’s character Jake is so rich that he has a Cézanne hanging right next to his kitchen. The movie, in general, casts a gaze at the abyss that separates the average person from the elite.

Crowe does not shy away from the topic of taxing the rich, in fact he dives right in.

“Everything is relative, a dollar is a dollar. I think where things get imbalanced is a focus on individual taxation and allowing corporate taxation to be less, which doesn’t make sense to me,” he says.

“Universal healthcare has to be a must, so whatever taxes we have to put in to just make sure that anybody who needs assistance with their health can get it easily. People’s health has to come first.”

Casting an eye back on a bountiful acting career, Crowe acknowledges the significance of his role in Gladiator, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Actor.

“It certainly changed a lot of things, put me in a different bracket – its success did. But you know that’s a long, long time ago,” the actor, who later took on titles such as A Beautiful Mind, Master and Commander, Cinderella Man and Les Misérables.

“I’ve gone on to have great success with other roles as well. I care about what I’m doing next.” EFE


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