'Gladiator' Russell Crowe Returns to Rome — as Expo Pitchman

‘Gladiator’ Russell Crowe Returns to Rome — as Expo Pitchman

“Good evening, Rome. Good evening Romans. I’m finally here, in the city where my heart beats faster.”

Enthusiastic cheers erupted from the surging crowd of fans on the steps of the Roman Theater at Italy’s legendary Cinecittà studios on Saturday as the Gladiator himself, New Zealand star Russell Crowe, came out to perform.

Crowe, who was recently named the official ambassador of Rome’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo, gave a free concert, accompanied by his band, Indoor Garden Party, performing alongside The Gentlemen Barbers and Irish singer Lorraine O ‘Reilly.

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Dressed all in black — like the rest of the band — Crowe immediately dropped some bluesy-flavored tunes, filling the stage as a vocalist with the same ease and charm he has as an actor on stage.

Watching him from the stands is Gabriele Muccino, a close friend of Crowe, who directed him inside Fathers and daughters, as well as the Mayor of Rome, Roberto Gualtieri. The banter between Crowe’s songs is a mix of English and Italian and his band set is a medley of musical genres, some folk, some rock, a dash of country. He quips his bandmate Lennie Loftin “tends to write songs where someone dies in the middle” and introduces a performance by his teenage son Charlie by noting that “when I did Gladiator he wasn’t alive yet.

Launching into a new number, Crowe invites the audience to come down from the stands and they obey. The seats of the Ancient Theater of the Cinecittà Studios emptied and a crowd of people crowded against the stage, dancing and holding up their mobile phones, recording the moment.

“Let your light shine,” Crowe sings, lit up by the glare of all those smartphones.

THR Rome had a few moments with Crowe before the soundcheck, at Cinecittà’s Sala Fellini, together with Fabia Bettini and Gianluca Giannelli, directors of the parallel section of the Alice in the City festival in Rome and organizers of today’s event, as well as the managing director of Cinecittà Nicola Maccanico.

Today might be all about music for Crowe, but a question about the Hollywood writers’ strike and the Oscar-winning actor is off the table.

“I think AI is a threat to creativity,” Crowe says, illuminating a key issue of the strike. “If we let it take over, the creativity of the human mind will be lost and our lives will all be much poorer…. We are at an extremely important and dangerous turning point. The unions of screenwriters and actors together with the producers are pushing to try to find a solution”.

Crowe, however, does not seem particularly optimistic: “One might think that perhaps, since they are adults, they would make mature considerations. But unfortunately, when there’s so much money at stake, the situation isn’t ideal. I hope it gets resolved soon. As for me, I believe that a prolonged strike or lengthy negotiations between producers and studios would not lead to a better situation, but worse.”

During his 30-year career in the film industry – as an actor he has worked with great directors such as Ron Howard, Michael Mann, Peter Weir and Zack Snyder – as well as, of course, Ridley Scott (in Gladiator, Robin Hood, A good yearetc.), Crowe experienced a transformation in the film industry.

“It’s something I experienced on the set of Robin Hood in 2010. It was a huge set with a lot of construction and a massive physical presence. They had even rebuilt a castle. That’s where I had my enlightenment. I realized it would be the last time I would be on a set like that,” he recalls. “Over the years, I’ve gotten to be in Marvel movies. There, you’re in huge green spaces that fill up with in post-production. While there is nostalgia for the past, you have to deal with change. There is no longer any middle ground: today we go from huge-budget films to low-budget films. The central slice, like a film A brilliant mind, lacks. Those stories are only being made as a TV series.

One thing is clear from Saturday’s performance and local crowd reaction: Crowe loves Rome and Rome Truly love Crowe.

“My bond with Rome begins with Gladiator, a thousand percent. I’ve done so many other things since that film. But what I find here is absolutely fantastic,” says Crowe. “The reception I receive here is one of warmth and familiarity. famous. What I find here in Italy, in terms of affection and recognition of my artistic qualities, I can’t find even in Australia”.

If Rome can secure the 2030 World Expo — Crowe is doing his part to bang the drum as the Eternal City’s official ambassador — will the actor return, perhaps to perform at the Colosseum with his band?

“A concert at the Colosseum in 2030? Do you know how damn old I’ll be? I would come with a wheelchair!” she says, noting before walking away. “I’d rather do a concert next year!”

But Crowe will be back for Ridley Scott Gladiator 2 Continuation? Check out his answer, in THR Rome videos below.