TARGET ON WAR
A young Russell Crowe once rallied the troops for a school yard play about war. A lifetime later, he makes his big screen directorial debut
Russell Crowe fulfilled a 42-yearold dream with his directorial debut, The Water Diviner. The Aussie Oscar winner says he has wanted to direct a movie ever since a rainy afternoon when he was a kid.
“I was probably like eight or something on a wet Friday afternoon, when we couldn’t play footy at Vaucluse Public School,” he says.
So his teacher decided they would put on a performance in the main hall and asked the young Crowe what he wanted to do.
“I said, ‘I’m going to direct a play’, and I gathered together a group of kids and I spent all the time I had making medals to stick on their clothes.
“It was going to be a war play – some people were Japanese, some people were Australian and the shooting started and everybody died.
“She asked me afterwards, ‘What was it about?’”
Crowe says with a laugh that his eight-year-old self turned very solemnly to his teacher and replied, “It was about the pointlessness of war, Mrs Morgan.” More than four decades later, he is tackling war again.
The Water Diviner is set in 1919, four years after the battle of Gallipoli, when an Australian farmer (Crowe) travels to Turkey to find out what happened to his three boys, who were reported missing in action.
Crowe says when he came across the script, he immediately felt a responsibility to it.
“I wanted to be the person that told this story,” he says.
What The Water Diviner does is expand the story of the Anzacs that most people learn in their school history books, by including the Turkish perspective, too.
It’s one of the reasons Crowe thinks children should see The Water Diviner.
“I know it’s a very serious subject matter, but there’s some big lessons in this. It’s unashamedly anti-war. It does the opposite of the glorification of that sort of conflict.
“Obviously not every parent will want their kids to see something heavy like this.” But he says it’s a story he wants his children to see.
Russell Crowe plays Joshua Connor in,
The Water Diviner,
a movie which he also directs.