Explaining Russell Crowe

Actor Chalks Up Phone-Throwing Incident To Temper, Believes Tendency Is Vital To His Health

Asked what he thinks his reputation is, Crowe says, "From a public point of view, you know, it's a some sort of like nightmare presence on a film set, you know, where everything must revolve around me. In the reality and the reason that I work with the type of directors that I do is that I'm [a] 100 percent reliable lieutenant who is there to serve the needs of the story to the best of his ability and these two things are completely different – completely different, you know? Yeah, so I think my reputation is something that I'll probably try to spend the rest of my life living it down and it probably won't work, you know? I don't know. I just get on and work with the directors who still wanna, you know, take the big risk of working with such a madman."

And some of the best seem perfectly willing to do it. Ridley Scott is finishing up "American Gangster," his third film with Crowe. The second is a romantic comedy called "A Good Year," about a tycoon who inherits a vineyard in Provence.

"Explain Russell Crowe," Kroft asks Ridley Scott.

"How long have you got?" Scott jokes.

Asked if Crowe is complicated, Scott says, "That's what makes him tick. Russell is complex. And make no mistake about that usually the best ones are complex, intelligent, take no prisoners. You gotta be prepared to go to war with Russell."

One of the things that upsets Crowe the most is the idea of being of being stereotyped and pigeon-holed in the media, by reporters who don't really know him.

"You can smell it coming from a mile away, man. You know? When somebody's only asking you questions to put you in a little box so it actually suits what they've already decided in their own mind about you," Crowe explains.

"The media label that seems to stick is Hollywood bad boy," Kroft notes. "What comes along with that is the boozing, brawling, at times womanizing. Not recently."

"Holy s---," Crowe replies.

Asked how much of that is myth, Crowe says, "Well, I've had the odd night on the tipple. I've definitely had a few times in my life where I felt that I needed right then and there to fight for my honor or somebody else's and I do love the ladies, Steve. I mean, what do you expect me to say?"

"You know, I'm absolutely married. I have two beautiful children and I hope to have a third one. But, probably don't bring that up with the wife just yet," Crowe adds.

At the time of the interview, Crowe's latest child was only 11 weeks old. "Yeah, it's probably a little too premature to be bringing up number three with her just right now and, you know, for a lot of that stuff that you're talking about, you know, past is past, you know? I don't have the leisurely time that I have used to have to go out with my mates and get on the drink, you know?" the actor tells Kroft.

After months of loneliness on the set of "Master and Commander," Crowe married his long time ex-girlfriend, Australian actress Danielle Spencer in 2004, but it would be premature to say he has mellowed. They are making their life in Australia where Crowe owns a rugby team, and a ranch outside Sydney.

Kroft wanted to know what he had to say about Hollywood.

"You want a one word answer? Employment," Crowe says.

"I wanna read you one quote. And of course, you can completely disown it," Kroft tells Crowe. "'Maybe it's better I don't travel to America. Maybe it's better I don't work in the area of the business that attracts so many flies.' That's a little more blunt than you just…."

"You got any footage of me to the courthouse in Manhattan?" the actor asks.

"Probably," Kroft replies.

"That's my answer," Crowe replies.

The occasion Crowe was talking about was a court appearance in 2005 in which he entered a plea of guilty to third degree assault. It followed an incident at the Mercer Hotel, in which Crowe threw a telephone at a desk clerk because he was unable to complete a phone call to his wife in Australia.

"It was a $160 fine, Steven. So, it wasn't important as 200 press people turning up to a courthouse with a, ya know, trying to bash my wife in the head with their cameras. Falling over each other, cameramen jumping on top of each other and trampling each other on the ground. It wasn't that important, mate," Crowe says.

"Where I come from, a confrontation like that, as basic and simple as that would have been satisfied with a handshake and an apology," he adds.