Russell Crowe has Sharon Stone to thank for helping him break into Hollywood after fighting to have the New Zealand-born actor cast in 1995 western The Quick And The Dead.
The Sam Raimi movie served as Crowe’s American film debut, but he was almost passed over for the role of Cort – until Stone, who starred in the project and served as a producer, saved the day.
“I used to say my theory of Los Angeles was you have to be careful because they will nice you to death,” Crowe quipped during an appearance on U.S. talk show Late Night with Seth Meyers.
“They will nice you so much that you think everything’s going to go well for you, and then you realise X amount of time later that you got nothing out of all that niceness.”
He continued, “It took me probably about 18 months or more and literally hundreds and hundreds of meetings before I actually got an American gig. I only got it because Sharon Stone had seen a movie I was in.”
However, Stone faced a lot of opposition when she backed Crowe for the part, and he’s grateful she refused to back down.
“She was kind of in a sword fight with the male producers on the film and she just put her foot down and said, ‘I’m going to hire the person I want to hire as the love interest,'” the 56-year-old recalled.
“If it wasn’t for her strength of commitment, I don’t know how long it might have been before I got an American movie. I’ve got a lot to thank her for.”
Just five years after The Quick and the Dead, which also starred Gene Hackman, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Gary Sinise, Crowe went on to lead the cast in the Oscar-winning Gladiator, for which he picked up the Best Actor Academy Award.