Russell Crowe talks of brotherly friendship with Joaquin Phoenix; Recalls last time they met each other
We got to witness Russell Crowe's most cherished performance to date, as the brave Maximus Decimus Meridius in Gladiator for the very time on May 5, 2000. The Ridley Scott directorial also helped to establish Joaquin Phoenix's rise to stardom where he electrified in the antagonist's role as the vile Commodus. While their onscreen equation was anything but amicable, their offscreen friendship was extremely different. Gladiator was one of Joaquin's big roles post the unfortunate death of his brother, River Phoenix, and the bond set between the actor and Russell was very brotherly.
To celebrate 20 years of Gladiator, Crowe gave a candid interview to Variety and spoke about his 'brotherly friendship' with Pheonix. The 56-year-old actor recalled how media would constantly poke his co-star about his brother's death and relate it to their friendship. "At one point, we were doing some press conference and he just said something along the lines of, 'Look, Russell treated me like a brother,' and it just hit me in a really heavy way," Russell admitted.
Crowe also spoke candidly about the last time he bumped into his friend and how it was a great time to catch up. "The last time we got together we had just bumped into each other in a corridor and it was then followed by six or seven hours of just throwing away whatever it was we were supposed to do that day and just being in each other’s company," the A Beautiful Mind star fondly gushed to Variety.
Gladiator definitely changed both Russell and Joaquin's career for good as Crowe went on to take home, his first-ever Oscar in the Best Actor category while Phoenix got his first-ever Oscar nomination in the Best Supporting Actor category. The Joker star lost to Benicio del Toro, who won it for Traffic.