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

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - MOVIES - CARIS BIZ­ZACA

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.

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