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Russell Crowe's tragic reason behind saying yes to Poker Face

Russell Crowe has revealed the tragic reason behind why he signed up for the new Stan film Poker Face, which he stars in, directed and wrote.

Speaking at the Sydney premiere, Russell shared with Yahoo Lifestyle that he signed up for the film following the death of his father, John, in March last year.

Russell Crowe at the Poker Face premiere
Russell Crowe has revealed the tragic reason he agreed to work on the new Stan film Poker Face, which was filmed in Sydney last year. Photo: Getty

"When the producers came to me with the idea of me taking over the movie, my dad had just died, so I was in the beginning of that cycle of trying to understand that grief," he told us. "And the fella that they had on board to direct the film, the guy who prepped it and everything, he had a family health situation and 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 been spent, but you've got five weeks before you shoot, what do you reckon?'"

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He continued, "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 prioritising keeping people in work. And I can deal with the embarrassment of not really knowing what I'm doing on this, until I figure out what the f**k I am doing."

The actor added that when he received the script, which was originally written by Stephen Coates, it was "a bit of a mess", as too many people had gotten involved, so he had to re-write it.

"So, I looked at [the script] and went, 'Hmm, can't deal with that, better write it again.' In nine days I did a draft, let everybody criticise it and tell me it was s**t, four days [later], did a second draft and basically then we're off," the actor shared.

Russell Crowe, Liam Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky
Russell with co-stars Liam Hemsworth and Elsa Pataky. Photo: Getty

Russell then shared that his focus moved on to securing cast members such as Liam Hemsworth, Elsa Pataky and Wu-Tang Clan rapper RZA. The star then shared how the shoot continued being an uphill battle, with many bumps in the road.

"It all dovetailed together. It was going along swimmingly, then we had the lady who was doing our coffee get Coronavirus, so we had to shut down," he explained. "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 up... and NSW 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 in f**king resilience. And for me, it's like the perfect example of the Australian film industry – all this s**t was going down, all this stuff was out of shape, and it just got done! At the end of the day, it just got done."

Russell then shared his message for young creatives, saying, "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."

Poker Face will be available to stream on Stan from November 22.

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