Russell Crowe began gracing the silver screen more than 40 years ago. His latest role, as both an actor and director is in "The Water Diviner." It's the latter job, he said, that's more satisfying, reports "CBS This Morning" co-host Charlie Rose.
"When I agree to act, it's basically because I have such a visceral connection with the piece that I can't say no. I don't base my decision on pedigree or money. It's always the individual character that I'm asked to do. I call it, like, the goose bump factor," Crowe said. "That's what I'm always looking for, you know. And I found myself reading this script and having that visceral reaction I look for, as an actor, and making notes, and you get the goose bumps and little bit of a sweat on the forehead."
While "The Water Diviner" is another war story, it was the unique emotional perspective in which the script was written that attracted him.
"It's a story about a man who has three children who go to war and don't come back, you know. It felt to me that there was an opportunity to make a war film, or a film that talks about war, with a level of honesty that other people haven't really taken it to," Crowe said. "We don't talk about grief. We don't talk about that moment between engagements when the wounded men are laying in the field, calling for water, calling for their mothers, calling for God, you know. We don't see it in that way."
Crowe wanted his two sons to know the realities of war.
"I want them to know if this comes up in their life what the truth of the situation is," Crowe said. "War is not about bravery and courage. War is most often about grief."
The Oscar-winning actor is known for his roles in iconic movies like "The Insider," "Robin Hood" and "Gladiator," but "The Water Diviner" is his first real commercial directing gig.
"I love the art form, Charlie, you know, you know, composition, color, texture, you know, the difference between music and silence, all of these things," Crowe said.
In this film, Crowe directs himself.
"I know this is kind of a bit of a smart*** reply, but a lot of the things that you do on a film set, from my point of view, is you try and interpret what the director wants. That's what you're there for, you know. You're their leftenant," he said.
Crowe said the process is easier since he can cut out the middle man and step into his own shot, but it's tiring having two jobs.
But, he said, directing is more interesting than acting.
"I used to think acting was the greatest job in the world. And then, I did this. And this is just so much more suitable to me," he said.
In 2012, Crowe and his wife, Danielle Spencer, parted ways after nine years of marriage. Years later, he said he still doesn't feel balanced.
"I was so proud to wear that ring, you know. And every now and then, I'll do that on my finger, it's not there anymore," Crowe said. "So, to this day, everything that I do is still connected to that, you know. And, you know, we haven't done the deal yet. So, you never know."
They haven't officially divorced, and Crowe said he's "a very persistent person."
"I didn't get married to get divorced," Crowe said.
Crowe, although born in New Zealand, has lived in Australia for 39 years and considers himself Australian.
"I had a choice. And I could, you know, at a certain point in my life, I could've chosen to live anywhere, you know," Crowe said.
In his 51 years, Crowe has had his fair share of ups and downs but maintains a positive outlook.
"I'm one of those fellows, right, unlike what seems to be modern concept, I appreciate my regrets. 'Cause that's the stuff that I've learned from, you know," Crowe said. "When people say to me, you know, 'I'm gonna live my life without regrets,' it's like, well, you're not gonna take any risk, you're not gonna take any chances."
He also said you can't take everything so seriously.
"But it also means you gotta cut yourself a bit of slack if you're every-- if you're a d*** every now and then, you know. It's bound to happen. You're bound to get somethin' wrong, you know," Crowe said.
"What I have stopped doing is I used to save-- you know, you've probably read many a time that you know, 'I've hit photographer,' I've never done that in my life, never, you know. It's just pure bull****. But what I've done is I've saved some of the most stinging verbal barbs just for those sorta people, you know," he said. "And they're shredded in now and wounded and bleeding going back to their editor. And they-- and they try and put it, like, a physical thing on the fact that I just ripped them apart emotionally with a single sentence."