He's played a neo-Nazi skinhead, a brutal LAPD cop and a Roman gladiator. But RUSSELL CROWE abandons the physical prowess for The Insider.

\D-Jords: Reese Esposito/lFA & Miles Fielder

'I GOT BEATEN UP IN THAT FILM, BIG TIME,’ says Russell (‘rowe of Ridley Scott’s Roman epic. (i/mliutur. "I blew both bicep tendons in my shoulders going from one ten-day fight sequence immediately into rehearsing the next ten-day fight sequence. And in between that. you haye to wrestle a tiger. 'l‘hat was a tough job. mate.‘ he concludes in his bullish antipodean accent.

'Michael Mann

On screen. the New '/.ealand—born. Australia—raised actor is simmering rage: behind a piercing blue—eyed glare. square jaw and taut muscles is tethered a barely controlled animal. You can see it in Bud White. the thuggish cop in LA. ('mi/it/entiul. the film that shot ('rowe to international stardom: in (‘ort. the gunslitiger—turned-priest in his first American filtn. The Quick Am! The


Dead: and in llando. the neo-Na/i skinhead of the notorious Romper Stamper. On screen. (‘rowe's ferocity is electric.

But then there‘s Jeff Mitchell. the young gay man with a fully functional relationship with his dad in The Sum (21‘ l 's. the last film ('rowe made down under before he hit Hollywood. l’or his ()scar-nominated turn in T/H' Insider. (‘rowe plays bespectacled.

balding. 53-year-old fat man. Jeffrey \Vigand. And haying shed the toga. (‘t‘owe will play a hostage negotiator with tnilitary—training who‘s neycr seen action in Proof (If Life before appearing in l-‘loru l’lum. a romance about a cichs freak and a star performer. So not all mindless tnachistno. then'.’ Sharon Stone. who head hunted (‘rowe for The Quiek Am! The Dead on the strength of Romper

Stmnper. commented: ‘lle wasn’t this cold. isolated tough gtty. lie was a funny. \‘lllllCl'itth goolball.‘

Neyertheless. it's clear that (‘rowe likes a challenge. ‘\\'orking with Ridley was like doing quantum physics with Picasso: he‘s got fiye camera crews. two and a half thousand extras. fiye hundred horses and ten thousand fttcking flaming arrows flying through the air.

is insane; he's a megalomaniac. He

Yeah. it was a lot of fun.’ For Michael Mann. the director of The Insider. (‘rowe reserves similar praise: '\\'hen somebmly's searching for the absolute right nttance at the intensity leyel of Michael. that‘s where I like to be. And Michael Mann is insane; he's a tnegalomaniac. lle droye the crazy and I fucking loyed it.‘ ('rowe‘s performance as \Vigand. the corporate executiye who blew the whistle on