Russell Crowe on blurring the lines between criminal and hero in The Next Three Days…
What was your initial reaction to the script?
Well, I was really enamoured by the script. I found it very compelling. I thought it was extremely well written. And the character, from scene to scene – I could feel the tension building. And the questions going through that character’s mind were very compelling for me. Particularly the overarching question: “Would you – on behalf of somebody that you love – turn into a person in order to help her, that she couldn’t love?” That was a fascinating question.
Were you keen to work with Paul Haggis?
I really, really had a great deal of respect for Crash. I really liked that movie. So that’s probably what prompted me to read it in the first place, actually. I wasn’t a big fan of In The Valley Of Elah. Even though I admired it, I wouldn’t know what it was trying to say, as a movie. So I’ve teased him, quite often, about that. But yes, I thought Crash was fantastic. And I also knew his work as a writer.
So all of those things, they do add up. But for me, the principle decision is going to be based on what’s actually on the page. And what the character has to do. And what the story is. I just found it very interesting. And I wanted to do it.
What characteristics do you admire about your character, John Brennan?
Well he wasn’t going to be convinced by other people. And he wasn’t going to take the easy option. And I think within a marriage, that’s a very core thing to have as a starting point: that deep and essential love, for each other.
How was it working with your co-star Elizabeth Banks?
It was a lot of fun seeing her in prison garbs. And seeing how naturally she suited those jail clothes. She has a very robust sense of humour and I think that’s required, playing a character like this.
You get to work with a lot of other big name actors in this film…
Well, I was very lucky on this movie. I got to work with a lot of great actors. It was like every week we had somebody very cool coming in that I had to do some scenes with. Brian Dennehy, Daniel Stern. Doing a scene with Liam was fantastic because I’ve been a big fan of his for a long time. There were a lot of people coming and going off the film set, which made it really fascinating.
Doing that scene with Liam it was a gigantic amount of dialogue and it was very difficult for him. I’ve just got to sit there and listen to him talk. But I think it was about seven or eight pages that he had to cram into his head. So it must have been very hard as he was only coming to the film set, basically for a day. But it was a great experience in that way, getting to work with all those different actors.
Many of the actions John takes throughout the film would be considered illegal, but audiences still see him as the good guy. Is he a hero?
Well, it’s a debate that’s easy to have, between what’s legal or illegal, and what is truly justice. And I think that’s what most people respond to, when they watch this movie. It will activate their sense of justice. So there’s a situation where all of the circumstantial evidence points one way. But in reality: has a crime been committed? And that’s what you have to work out, along with my character, as the story unfolds.