CINDERELLA MAN: sounds like a pic worth seeing.kk
[ Review from Zap2it.com ]
When Ron Howard was still in pre-production on
Cinderella Man,'' he put a lot of work into how he was going to shoot the boxing scenes that make up the film's backbone. He figured out which camera angles to use, researched which pugilistic classics to emulate and tracked down the right technical consultants to deliver veracity. One thing he never worried about, he says, was whether his leading man would be up to the challenge. If Russell thinks he can do something and he says he can do something, he will by God deliver, and I counted on that,’’ Howard says of Russell Crowe, who also toplined the Oscar-winning
A Beautiful Mind.'' Crowe was never concerned with the fact that Depression-era boxing legend Jim Braddock was 6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, while the actor describes himself as 5-foot-11 and a half and a bit.’’ Crowe just dropped to 176 pounds to keep his physical proportions similar to that of his character, just another dramatic transformation for an actor who has gone as hefty as 254 points to play Jeffrey Wigand in
The Insider,'' as husky as 228 pounds to become Jack Aubrey for Master & Commander’’ and as muscular as 190 pounds for
Gladiator.'' I would say ‘Cinderella Man’ was about four times as hard,’’
Crowe says, comparing his recent regimen to preparations on the Oscar-winning sword-and-sandals epic. ‘’‘Gladiator’ was about having big rounded muscles and using very heavy instruments of death … I wasn’t looking to be cut. A lot of people mistake the armor for my body at the time.’’
To get into fighting shape, Howard and Crowe recruited Angelo Dundee, the iconic trainer whose pupils included Muhammad Ali.
``He would have definitely been a fighter if I’d grabbed him early, but look what I would have ruined, a great talent like Russell Crowe,’’ says Dundee, who taught Crowe how to maneuver in the ring, both physically and strategically.
It was the hardest training I've ever done, and I'm over 40 now, so it was probably the wrong time to start,'' Crowe comments. There’s a lot of old war wounds that came back.’’
In addition to stirring up old knee injuries and an Achilles tendon condition he developed on
Gladiator,'' Crowe seriously dislocated his shoulder, an injury that required arthoscopic surgery. Crowe, who hasn't appeared on the big screen since 2003, zipped through the rehab on the injury and was back to shooting within weeks, though bone scans and cortisone shots became regular occurrences. :eek: Crowe took so much punishment that the set doctor had to warn Howard that his star had probably suffered multiple concussions. :rolleyes: If a fighter had the injury like he had, he wouldn’t fight for six months,’’ Dundee says, obviously impressed.
Becoming Braddock didn’t just require Crowe to change his body, though. Makeup artists performed minor tricks to increase Crowe’s facial resemblance to Braddock, and the actor asked the team to rig up a paraffin gadget so that his ears would stick out like the boxer’s did, an idea that gave the film’s director pause.
Russell said, 'What are you worried about, if you look at the pictures, clearly Braddock had ears like this and I'm giving you that, so why are you frowning?'' Howard recalls. And I said, ‘Russell, as a guy who’s had those ears all his life , are you sure you want to do this to yourself?’’
It’s hard to imagine many actors putting up with so much abuse for a summer movie, but Crowe got to see his labor bear fruit at a recent screening.
I got to open a crack in the door from outside the cinema and watch the first 10 people in the front row watching the last six minutes of the movie,'' says Crowe. For all the pain and that sort of stuff that I went through, to see the audience that engaged - people grabbing chairs, grabbing each other, people covering their faces - that pays you back for all the effort.’’