Explaining Russell Crowe

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

Crowe says the U.S. is different. "Your legal system is very open to be misused," he tells Kroft.

Asked to characterize the incident, Crowe says, "Minor."

"You're a traveling man. You've been overseas a lot. Is there a place in your memory bank where you as a traveling businessman have lost your temper in the foyer of a hotel? I'm sure there is," Crowe asks Kroft.

"No, I don't think I've flung a piece of telecommunications equipment. That's the only difference," Kroft replies.

Asked if he regrets the incident, Crowe says, "Totally. Absolutely. Ya know, of course I did. Ya know, it was unreasonable of me, ya know, in terms of taking out my frustrations on that individual."

It cost Crowe more than the $160 fine. He reportedly paid the desk clerk a $100,000 settlement to avoid a civil lawsuit. And the incident damaged his reputation. He blamed it on massive jet lag, his disappointment over "Cinderella Man," and being separated from his family.

"I mean, it's not the first time it's happened. But there have been a number of incidents of…," Kroft remarks.

"There's been a number of reports," Crowe corrects Kroft. "And the percentage of real incidents to reports is probably about ten percent."

"You were doing a play in Australia and that you head butted one of your fellow actors, Peter Cousens," Kroft continues.

"Yes. He was screaming at me at the time. He was calling me all manner of things. And all the other cast, or the three other principle guys that I worked with or that I shared a dressing with, were holding my arms. So, that's all I had left to hit him with and he f-----' deserved it," Crowe says.

Crowe readily admits he does have a temper. "Oh, hell yeah. Absolutely, man. I have a temper. My mum's got a temper. My brother's got a temper. You gotta have one. You know what happens if you don't have one? One day you walking down the street and you just pop. You're lying there on the pavement because you've been holding and suppressing all this bull----, ya know," he says.

Asked if he has a problem with his anger, Crowe says, "No."

"No, I don't. Ya know, if it's 'Oh, I'm not even gonna give you the benefit of answering it in those terms,' no," he says, laughing.

"I live a real life, man, and it's complex. Ya know, some days are absolute diamonds and some days are dog s----. Same as everybody else. Unfortunately some days that are diamonds I've taken them and turned them into dog s---. But you live and you learn. I'm 42 and I'll get wiser," he says.

Crowe says his combativeness comes from his struggle to be taken seriously as an actor and that cultural differences between Americans and Australians cause people to misjudge him. What he thinks is honest and direct is interpreted as arrogant and rude. And even those who don't like him say his outbursts of anger are often followed by extreme generosity and even contrition.

"I dunno, I think I'm just a kid, man. You know, I take everything, and people, at face-value, which probably gets me into trouble a lot. Because, you know, somebody asking a question, and then I tend to answer it from my heart. And it's not always clever in this day and age, you know. So I'd never make a politician. But you know, I love the job," Crowe says.

"Asked all the questions got answers to everything, didn't get punched out," Kroft jokes.

Says Crowe, "You must be one of the lucky ones, Steven."
Produced By John Hamlin