Russell Crowe details horrific on-set injuries. And why he is jealous of Paul Mescal

It hasn't been a smooth ride for the actor!
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Any milestone forces us to reflect. For Russell Crowe, turning 60 in April allowed him to take stock of what his body and mind have achieved in his six decades on Earth.

“I do carry a lot of injuries. Over time you start to feel it,” he told GQ, after they asked him how he felt about turning 60. “I’ve got no cartilage in my big toes because the sports that I played were all lateral movement sports – tennis, rugby and cricket … I’ve got heel fasciitis. I’ve got shin splints. I’ve got bone-marrow edemas under both knees. I’ve got all manner of things going on with my back. I’ve got ribs that just pop off the spine if I put them under too much pressure.

Russell Crowe smiling
Russell Crowe has been nominated for three Academy Awards over the years (Credit: Getty)

“I’ve had two operations on my left shoulder, but now that shoulder is so full of arthritis that for me to get back to a place of comfort, they’ve basically gotta cut in, take the whole humeral head out, they’ve gotta chop it in half, stick carbon fibre in there and sew it back up, and there’s a recovery period of 11 months.”

There’s zero chance of him deciding to undergo the gruelling surgery, though. So he’ll just live with the pain. Pain caused from his great love: acting.

“Every one of these things relates to something that went wrong on a film set,” he said. “I’ve only got one scar on my body that isn’t related to film. I jumped over a fence when I was about 14, and somebody had smashed a Coke bottle. I ended up jumping right onto it and I had to get stitches.”

Russell Crowe in Gladiator movie as Maximus Decimus Meridius
Russell Crowe in the 2000 Gladiator film as Maximus Decimus Meridius (Credit: Getty)

Despite the aches and pains, Crowe is thrilled with his life. From his acclaimed career that continues to thrive, to his two sons, Charles, 20, and Tennyson, 17, and, of course, his quiet life when the cameras aren’t rolling.

“I’ve been unreasonably happy for most of my life,” he said. “I know that bothers some people, but that’s just not my problem. I pursue creatively and artistically what I want to do, and I have done that for probably about 35 years, you know? I do it unapologetically.”

Russell Crowe and sons sitting at the Trevi Fountain in Italy
Russell’s most important role is being father to his two sons Charles, 20, and Tennyson, 17 (Credit: Instagram)

Crowe has a reputation for being gruff, but he says he doesn’t chase fame. Fame is just a by-product of what he does.

“I go to work – I do my thing,” he said, before detailing his life on his farm in Northern NSW. “When I’m not at work, I’m in the bush, and it’s me, and some cows, and some dogs, and some horses, chickens – and a lot of space.”

Right now, though, he’s taking a hiatus to tour with his band, The Gentlemen Barbers. During an appearance on Heart Evenings with Dev Griffin in May, Crowe spoke about sacrificing moments with his boys to fulfil his love of entertaining in film and on stage.

“I go away to make a movie, and then the moment I finished the movie, I’m now on tour, when do I get to be dad?” he mused, recalling the earlier years of parenthood. With Charles also a musician, Crowe said, “Now the amazing thing is, my eldest son actually gets to travel with me.”

Will Russell Crowe be in the next Gladiator movie?

The internet lost its tiny mind last week when images were released of Irish actor Paul Mescal starring in the lead role of Gladiator II, the long-awaited sequel to Russell Crowe’s 2000 original Gladiator film. And the All Of Us Strangers star doesn’t take this role lightly.

“It’s an intimidating feat. It’s something I’m nervous about but something I feel like I can do,” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

Paul Mescal in costume for Gladiator film
First look at Paul Mescal in Gladiator II (Credit: Paramount Pictures)

But what does Rusty think of the film that earned him a Best Actor Oscar being done again?

“I’m slightly uncomfortable with the fact they’re making another one — because, of course, I’m dead and I have no say in what gets done,” Crowe said on the Kyle Meredith With… podcast last year referring to his character Maximus Decimus Meridius dying in the original. Apologies to anyone who hasn’t watched it yet!

The Aussie actor was big enough to admit that what is making him uncomfortable comes down to one basic instinct: jealousy.

“This is just me being purely honest: there’s definitely a tinge of melancholy, a tinge of jealousy.” He then quipped, “I remember when I had tendons.”

The sequel is due out in cinemas later this year.

Want to re-watch the classic? Stream Gladiator on Binge.

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