Crowe Hits Out at 'Imbecilic' Criticism of Romance
from Iwon February 24, 2001

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Oscar-nominated actor Russell Crowe hit back on Saturday at criticism that his short-lived romance with U.S. co-star Meg Ryan was to blame for their latest movie's poor box office showing.

Crowe and Ryan, who was married to actor Dennis Quaid, began a much-publicized affair while filming "Proof of Life" in Ecuador last year. Ryan, 38, ended her nine-year marriage to Quaid, but split with Crowe, 37, earlier this year.

"Proof of Life" director Taylor Hackford said at the film's London premiere on Wednesday that the romance had "an indelible and very destructive effect" on the U.S. release of the film over the Christmas period.

Hackford claimed the relationship overpowered the film, but New Zealand-born Crowe hit back during a whirlwind promotional tour in Australia.

"I think Taylor is being impolite, impolitic and imbecilic by saying that," Crowe told reporters.

"I think you will see that the Proof of Life box office, when it's not such a family-oriented time as Christmas, will be much higher. What we know, personally, is that we put as much effort into the process as possible and are pleased with the outcome," he said.

Crowe said the hostage drama was a good film but not a great one.

"I think it's a good movie. Is it a great film and is it going to change your life? No. But not all of them can be," Crowe said.

Crowe has been nominated in the best actor category at both the American and British Academy Awards for his role in the Roman epic "Gladiator."

He was due to leave Australia shortly after the Melbourne release of "Proof of Life" for Britain, where the British Academy of Film and Television awards will be handed out on Sunday.

Crowe said he was even happier this year than when he received an Oscar nomination for his work in "The Insider" last year.

"The Academy is the ultimate in terms of what I do for a job," Crowe said. "It's a peer vote acknowledging that I put a bit of effort in."

--type by Cheri