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Russell Crowe Claims Studio Tried To Get Him To Quit 'L.A. Confidential' So They Could Cast Bigger Name

Russell Crowe told Vanity Fair that Warner Bros tried to get him to quit 'L.A. Confidential' by refusing to pay for his hotel or rental car only a few days into the rehearsal process, hoping they could get a more prominent name into the role.

Russell Crowe from "Vanity Fair" interview; Crowe in "L.A. Confidential"
Vanity Fair/YouTube, Warner Bros.

Russell Crowe claimed the studio behind the 1997 neo-noir crime film L.A. Confidential tried to drop him in favor of a more established actor. The New Zealand born, Australian raised actor went on to become an Academy Award winner after earning a Best Actor Oscar for 2000's Gladiator.

Crowe co-starred in L.A. Confidential as Detective Sergeant Wendell "Bud" White, an officer who was dedicated to going after corrupt cops.

But Crowe claims he was almost replaced by someone else.

He revealed in an interview with Vanity Fair the studio behind the film "stopped paying the bill at the hotel and they stopped paying for my rental car" during the early rehearsal process in L.A. to get him to step down from being a part of the production.

"The studio didn't want me to be in that role," he said before mentioning A-listers whose names might have been tossed around to play White.

"They wanted, I think, Sean Penn and Robert De Niro in the film, or something."

You can watch Crowe break down his career in the Vanity Fair interview, here.

The Pope's Exorcist actor continued:

"There was probably a four or five-day period there where I was leaving the hotel of a morning by going down the back stairs because I knew the manager of the hotel was waiting for me in the foyer to ask when the bill was going to be paid."
"If I paused and said, 'I'm not turning up to work,' they just would have taken that opening to get me out of the movie."

Looking back, Crowe suggested the movie would not have enjoyed its successes had it not been for a producer who believed in the film enough to take a print to France where it was selected for screening at the prestigious Cannes Film Festival.

"It was selected to be in the main competition," recalled Crowe.

"Suddenly this film that everybody had already written off, now people started going, 'How is that possible?'"
"This film that we thought was one thing is regarded by the greatest film market and greatest festival in the world as something else."

The screenplay for L.A. Confidential was written by Brian Helgeland and Curtis Hanson, who directed the film.

The movie centered on police corruption in the 1950s and was loosely based on James Ellroy's 1990 novel of the same name, which was the third book in his L.A. Quartet series of crime novels that also included The Black Dahlia.

Following Hanson's death in 2016, Ellroy said he felt free to "disparage" the film adaptation of his novel and ripped it to shreds, calling it a "turkey of the highest form.” Ellroy also described Crowe's performance as "impotent."

Crowe's fans disagreed with the author's criticisms.

L.A. Confidential also starred Australian actor Guy Pearce who was also relatively unknown in North America at the time.

Rounding out the cast were Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger and Danny DeVito.

It went on to be nominated for nine Oscars and won two–one for Best Supporting Actress for Basinger and Best Adapted Screenplay.