Brando steeled Crowe for role

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES -

Man of Steel.

A FEW years af­ter Mar­lon Brando’s 2004 death, Rus­sell Crowe was con­tacted by a woman pos­sess­ing a spe­cial pack­age. The woman was one of Brando’s close friends and the act­ing great had en­trusted her to lo­cate Crowe and present him with a book of po­etry, There Are Men Too Gen­tle to Live Among Wolves, by Amer­i­can author James Ka­vanaugh. Tucked in­side the book was an­other sur­prise – a note penned by Brando. ‘‘Along with it came a lit­tle let­ter about how he liked watch­ing cer­tain films of mine,’’ Crowe says. ‘‘It re­ally touched me when I re­ceived that be­cause grow­ing up as a young ac­tor, his per­for­mances were very af­fect­ing to me. You can take what you get out of do­ing am­a­teur theatre or what­ever, but un­til you see On the Wa­ter­front or A Street­car Named De­sire, you kind of re­alise some­thing did shift greatly in cin­ema per­for­mance.’’ Crowe, with his machismo on and off screen, has of­ten been com­pared to Brando, and in the new Su­per­man movie, Man of Steel, the New Zealand-born, Aus­tralian-raised ac­tor walks in Brando’s foot­steps. Crowe is JorEl, the su­per­hero’s bi­o­log­i­cal fa­ther, a role Brando played in 1978’s Su­per­man. The open­ing scenes of Man of Steel, di­rected by Zack Sny­der, take place on the planet Kryp­ton, with Jor-El con­fronted with a par­ent’s worst night­mare. Kryp­ton is in its last hours, the planet set to im­plode. Jor-El de­cides the only way to con­tinue the Kryp­to­nian race and save his new­born son is to place him in a space cap­sule and send it to planet Earth. Crowe, fa­ther to two sons, Charles, 9, and Ten­nyson, 6, says the scene moved him. ‘‘The very thought of hav­ing to give up your child is an ex­tremely dif­fi­cult thing to wrap your head around, even when you absolutely, fun­da­men­tally know in your heart it is the best thing,’’ he says. Jor-El finds a way to keep in touch with his son (Henry Cav­ill), who, af­ter be­ing dis­cov­ered in a field and raised by farm­ers Jonathan (Kevin Cost­ner) and Martha Kent (Diane Lane), is strug­gling with his iden­tity and su­per­hu­man pow­ers. Af­ter Charles was born, Crowe says: ‘‘For some rea­son I was hav­ing this con­ver­sa­tion with my wife about what we could do if some­thing tragic hap­pened,’’ Crowe says. ‘‘My gut instinct was some­how you have to go with your child. That for me played into ex­actly what Zack wanted in the script. I was send­ing him off, but I do have a way if cir­cum­stances come to­gether in the place where he ar­rives, he can con­tact me still. It was strangely sat­is­fy­ing to have that sec­ond go at com­mu­ni­ca­tion.’’

Rus­sell Crowe as Jor-El and Ayelet Zurer as Lara Lor-Van in

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