Russell Crowe reveals struggle to get Poker Face made: 'Test of f***ing resilience'

Russell Crowe shares the struggle to get Poker Face made during the 2021 NSW lockdown and floods, while also dealing with the loss of his father.

Video transcript

RUSSELL CROWE: When the producers came to me the idea of me taking over the movie, my dad had just died. So I was in that kind of, the beginning of that cycle of trying to understand that grief, you know. And the fellow that they had on board to direct the film, the guy had prepped it and everything, he had a family health situation. He had to go home.

So they came to me and said, look, there's five weeks to go. Do you want to take over this feature film that hasn't been fully set up yet, hasn't been actually cast yet. The sets aren't built. Most of your budget's already being spent. But you've got five weeks before you shoot. What do you reckon?

And the other part of it was, there was 280 people contracted to work. We were in a pandemic. The city was about to go into lockdown. And all of those people would lose their job. So I found myself making a decision that my father would have made, and that is prioritizing keeping people in work. And I can deal with the embarrassment of not really knowing what I'm doing on this until I work out what the [BLEEP] I am doing, you know?

So not any problem due to the original writer, who, Steven Coates. But the script had become a bit of a mess. Too many hands on it. People get with it and they start [BLEEP] with it. And they think they've got an idea, but they never complete it. So I looked at it and went, hm, can't deal with that. Better write it again.

So I started, nine days, I did a draft, let everybody criticize it and tell me it was [BLEEP]. Four days, did the second draft. And basically then we're off. And you know, I've been up through the night trying to get people like Rizza and Liam and Elsa, people to like focus on this as something that's a possibility they might want to join in on. So it all dovetailed together.

You know it was going along swimmingly. Then we had the lady who was doing our coffee get coronavirus. So we had to shut down. Now that bumped into my schedule, which had a six month cycle on it before I could get back to actually mount the rest of the shoot.

And when I did, two days into it, the heavens opened just like before and New South Wales was flooded. And one of my sets just actually washed down the river. So we had to shut down again, restart. But what it becomes is an actual test of [BLEEP] resilience. And for me, it's like a perfect example of the Australian film industry. All this [BLEEP] was going down, all of the stuff was out of shape. And it just got done. At the end of the day, it just got done.

You know, and if there's a message which I think was your question--

- It was.

RUSSELL CROWE: Let's say if there's a message in it for young people that are watching it or whatever, art is never created in a perfect environment. You have to be ready to move with it and just get the thing done that you have set out to do.