Date: 24th February 2001
GLADIATOR actor RUSSELL CROWE only agreed to star in Australian soap NEIGHBOURS to get close to pop babe KYLIE MINOGUE.
The hunk had doubts about playing a part in the hit show, until he realised Kylie would be riding on his back. The New Zealand-born star was working on stage in THE MELBOURNE THEATRE when he was offered the part of KENNY LARKIN in 1987. Eventually he starred in four episodes of the long-running production.
The Oscar nominee says, "I thought, 'Gee, this is c**p' - and I get to the last scene, and I've got to punch CRAIG McLACHLAN, while JASON DONOVAN's trying to break up the fight - while Kylie is riding on my back, strangling me - and I went 'Yes, I'll do it!'."
Crowe became Hollywood's hottest property following his critically acclaimed performance in LA CONFIDENTIAL and then alongside AL PACINO in THE INSIDER, for which he earned an Oscar nomination last year (00). But the down-to-earth actor remembers when money wasn't always easy to come by. He confesses, "Four episodes of Neighbours takes about 25 minutes to shoot, because they work a pretty tough schedule - and I got more money for that three or four days' work than I got for the whole season in The Melbourne Theatre." (JXL/WNV/MCM)