Home' Greymouth Star : December 5th 2014 Contents Russell Baillie
of the New Zealand Herald
e has commanded
armies and captained
great ships. Or at least
he has played guys who
He has been a leading
man for nearly 20 years and pretty much
grew up on film sets from the days his
parents worked on them as caterers.
So you cannot quite say Russell Crowe
was not qualified to make the leap to
Crowe certainly thinks he has earned
the right to have a go, he says sitting in a
Sydney hotel suite on the morning before
the world premiere of his directing debut
The Water Diviner.
It is a movie not just by Russell Crowe,
it is a movie starring Russell Crowe.
The Wellington-born star — who
remains a New Zealand citizen care of
the Australian government ’s immigration
rules, despite having lived most of his
life across the Tasman — plays its titular
That is Connor, a New South Wales
farmer with a knack for finding water
underneath sun-baked fields.
We first find him and his wife in the
years right after World War One, still
grieving for the three sons they have
missing, presumed dead at Gallipoli. The
story flashes back to the battlefield and
the boys’ young lives on the farm.
After the war, a quietly despondent
Connor takes it up himself to travel to
the Dardenelles to find what, if anything,
remains of his boys.
At first fighting British military
officialdom to be allowed on to the
battlefield, he discovers more about the
war and the country the Anzac troops
invaded and the people they had in their
Crowe’s views on how the Australian
and New Zealand mythology surrounding
Gallipoli does not take into account the
Turkish perspective has already made
headlines on both sides of the Tasman.
That look behind the lines into the
Turkish defence with its own mammoth
casualty count, is what made Crowe
want to direct the script by Australian
television writers Andrew Knight and
Andrew Anastasios, when it came
recommended to him by two producer
“I just felt and understood, yes, the
central character but more so what it was
saying in a broader sense about Australia
and the grief that Australia and New
Zealand had experienced post the First
“But what I think was really
galvanising for me, the thing that was
both inspirational and fundamentally
embarrassing at the same time, is I
realised that for all the dawn services I
had been to, I had never spent a minute
thinking about the situation from
the Turkish perspective. Never ever
considered it. I was embarrassed.”
When he read the script he felt
something more than the usual visceral
urge he gets when he wants to be in a
movie, he wanted to make the movie too.
“This is a different thing altogether. This
was having that reaction and just this
other thing came over the top of it: ‘ This
is mine. I am responsible for this’.”
Crowe visited Gallipoli while preparing
for the film and says he was surprised by
how he was welcomed.
“It wasn’t because I was a movie star. I
was just another bloke walking around
the gravesites and a guy comes up to me
and says ‘where are you from?’
“I said ‘New Zealand’ and straight away
he wanted to have a chat — this was like
a personal connection to them in a depth
I just hadn’t assumed.”
Crowe, crew and a cast including former
Bond girl Olga Kurylenko as a local
hotelier with her own family connections
to Gallipoli, shot some of the film in
Turkey, including a scene inside Istanbul’s
Most of the film was shot in the searing
heat of South Australia last summer, a
season which also marked the director-
actor’s turning 50.
Crowe makes it sound like he took
directing in his stride. After all, he has
had some very good teachers over the
“It ’s been my favourite film set to be on
in the last five or six years because it was
operating the way it was operating and
everybody was facing the same direction,”
“This is my tribe and I know this
language and I know the information
that is required to keep the day moving. I
know what the actors want. I know how
this type of army moves.
He laughs at the endorsements he got
from his own former directors. Sir Ridley
Scott, who directed Crowe in Gladiator
and Robin Hood, offered a resounding
“ he’ ll be fine”.
Ron Howard, who helped Crowe to
a second acting Oscar nomination in
A Beautiful Mind apparently said, “Oh
good” when told Crowe was going behind
The best advice he got was from
directors who he had not worked with —
Ben Stiller reminded him not to forget he
was the lead character and if he did not
shoot enough of himself he would lose
the spine of his story.
Horror master Eli Roth told Crowe
it was not all those years of screen
experience that was going to make him
cope with the pressures of being a director
— 10 or so years of being a dad would.
“(Roth said) there will be certain points
during the day where only being fatherly
and patriarchal gets you through this day,”
“ You are surrounded by a whole bunch
of people and they all have 10,000
questions. ‘ You make your bed. You clean
up your toys ...’
“I steal from everybody. Every single
director that I have worked with.
Whether it ’s something that ’s good or
I’ve learned something that I will never
“I’ve stolen stuff from Ridley, I’ve stolen
stuff from (Master and Commander
director) Peter Weir, I’ve stolen stuff from
And what about that demanding actor
Russell Crowe — what did he think
about that demanding director Russell
“ Well we’ve never had any angry words,”
he chuckles. “And the actor never refused
anything I asked of him.”
4 - Friday, December 5, 2014
We appreciate the value of the Letters to the Editor
column as a public forum for West Coasters and
welcome your opinion and suggestions.
Letters may be submitted by post, fax or e-mail and
must include your name, address, phone number
and — except for e-mails — your signature. Noms
de plume are not accepted.
Please keep your letters honest, respectful and
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reserves the right to edit or not publish letters,
especially those that are offensive or too long.
Post to PO Box 3, Greymouth, fax to 768 6205 or
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uLetters to the editor
1848 - US President James Polk triggers
the Gold Rush of ‘49 by confirming gold was
discovered in California.
1909 - Florence Taylor, in a glider, becomes
the first woman to fly in Australia.
1936 - Soviet Union adopts new
Constitution under a Supreme
1944 - Allied troops take
Ravenna, Italy, in World War Two.
1962 - United States and Soviet
Union agree to co-operate in
peaceful uses of outer space.
1990 - US troops arrest former Panamanian
police official after he escapes from prison
by helicopter and takes over national police
1993 - A letter bomb blast injures Vienna’s
mayor in his home. It is the fifth explosive sent
in three days to journalists, priests and others
linked to Austria’s immigrant community.
1995 - Tel Aviv district court indicts Yigal
Amir, the confessed assassin of Israeli Prime
Minister Yitzhak Rabin, along with two of his
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Martin Van Buren, first native-born US
president (1782-1862); George Armstrong
Custer, American cavalry
commander (1839-1876); Jozef
Pilsudski, Polish statesman
(1867-1935); Walt Disney, US
cartoonist-film producer (1901-
1966); Little Richard, US singer
(1932-); Jose Carreras, Spanish
operatic tenor (1946-); British ski jumper
Eddie “ The Eagle” Edwards (1963-); Carrie
Hamilton, US actress (1963-2002); Frankie
Muniz, US actor (1985-).
“ I’ve never been poor, only broke. Being
poor is a frame of mind. Being broke is only a
temporary situation.” — Mike Todd, American
movie producer (1907-1958).
“ May the God of hope fill you with all joy
and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may
overflow with hope by the power of the Holy
Spirit.” — Romans 15:13.
New West Coast
presented with trained
at a graduation ceremony at Greymouth on
Tuesday evening. The graduands are Messrs J
E Thompson, R G Maskill, I R Tennent, L J
Lawrence, P W Muir; Misses T J Nimmo, B A
The publican said; “A whisky? No chance. I’ve
got one bottle left, and that ’s for me.” This was
the final chapter in the life of Moonlight’s pub,
the Dewdrop Inn, 50 years ago, so local lore
But the last publican who turned his last
customer down — his name was Dick Devereux
— will be remembered when the Dewdrop Inn
reopens for one day in April. It will be the first
time for 50 years that the inhabitants of this
once bustling centre of goldmining have been
able to buy a drink in their tiny settlement.
For their centennial celebrations next year they
will have a one-day licence and will renovate
the shattered remnants of the old inn which, for
nine hours, will re-echo the bibulous days of the
Power is now being used in the Kopara-
Haupiri area for the first time. Connections
have just been made by the Grey Electric Power
Board to complete the board’s scheme to supply
electricity to remote portions of its area. The
project cost about £1000 per mile and extends
for 30 miles.
The line extends from Bell Hill to the foot of
the Amuri Pass, and will be officially opened late
in January. The users will number approximately
12 but the cost of constructing the line has been
subsidised by the Rural Electrical Reticulation
uFood for thought
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He is 28 and a former mechanic — but
had to go to jail to learn that it is useful to
save some of your money.
“I have learned a lot about how to
save and why it’s important, and about
budgeting. They were things that no
one ever taught us about,” he said in a
classroom at the Paremoremo Prison.
Another prisoner, at 23 already a father
of three boys, said: “I’m a compulsive
spender. I just see something and if I’ve
got the money I’ll buy it on the spot, I
won’t ask anyone.”
He left school two weeks into Year 10.
Asked what he had learned in a three-
day course in jail, he said: “I’ve learned
everything! I’ve learned things I should
have learned in school if I’d stayed.”
The two men are among about 60
prisoners so far to go through a simple
course called Life 101 that was originally
designed for school-leavers. It teaches
practical things like budgeting and
cooking which are not part of mainstream
“I was living from hotel to hotel,
buying takeaways every day,” the former
mechanic said. “I will cook now.”
The young dad now wants to train as a
plumber so he can provide for his family
— and make his own lunch.
“I’ve got to start living like a Johnny
Lunchbox, I can’t spend $50 on takeaways
every lunchtime,” he said.
Both men were particularly keen
on what they learned about property
investment. “If we invest in property we
can own a house and have it paying us to
own it (by renting it out),” the first man
The second one said: “I learned how
to invest in properties, which is good ...
Money works for you, you don’t work for
Tutor Phil Moon, 33, a former real
estate agent and tour guide who
co-founded Life 101 as a school holiday
programme in April, said that when
he was asked to take the course into
Paremoremo he was surprised at both
how smart the prisoners are, and by the
gaps in their knowledge.
“They ’re not stupid at all,” he said.
“It ’s amazing what they don’t know, but
likewise it always surprises me what they
do know. Some know all about insurance
but have never heard of a CV. Some know
all about setting up a business but don’t
know what IRD is. It’s always different.”
He has adapted the course to fit jail life.
Internet access is banned, so he teaches
job-search techniques with photocopied
screenshots from Seek and Google. A
health lesson includes techniques to stop
smoking and remove tattoos.
But prison students are just like any
other when it comes to teaching.
“They don’t get much praise, so I’m
constantly saying, ‘That ’s awesome! Great
idea!”’ he said. “ They lighten up, you
see them grow a foot. Most of the time
they ’re told how bad they are and what
they ’re doing wrong. We talk about who
has kids. They all have kids. I tell them:
‘ You are going to be the person who is
going to change your sons’ and daughters’
lives.’ My message is to pass on this
knowledge to their kids.”
— New Zealand Herald
Prisoners get back to basics of life
James Bond will take on a sinister
organisation with links to his past in the
next instalment of the blockbuster spy
series, which star director Sam Mendes
said overnight would be called Spectre.
Mendes unveiled a new cast and souped-
few other details about the 24th film in the
series, that will see Daniel Craig return for
his fourth outing as the dapper, martini-
“ We’ve got to be bigger and better than
Skyfall. It’s as simple as that,” Craig said,
referring to the previous film in the series.
He said he had a role in shaping the
script, with Mendes and the writers. “I’m
allowed free rein — what a gig,” he said.
Austrian actor Christoph Waltz would
play a leading role, Mendes added,
without going into more details. Most
commentators assumed the sadistic
villain of Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious
Basterds would play the baddie.
Italian actress Monica Bellucci and
French actress Lea Seydoux, who shot to
fame in the erotic hit Blue is the Warmest
Colour, would play Bond girls, Mendes
added at a press conference at Pinewood
Studios north of London.
In a teaser description of the plot, Sony
Pictures Entertainment said in a statement:
“A cryptic message from Bond’s past
sends him on a trail to uncover a sinister
organisation. While M battles political
forces to keep the secret ser vice alive, Bond
peels back the layers of deceit to reveal the
terrible truth behind Spectre.”
The title was a clear reference to the
global criminal organisation that Bond
has battled since the first film in the series,
1962’s Dr No.
Spectre infamously stood for the Special
Executive for Counter-intelligence,
Terrorism, Revenge and Extortion.
Much secrecy has surrounded the latest
outing for the Bond franchise, which
has taken in more than $US5 billion
worldwide since its debut in figures
adjusted for inflation on the trade site Box
The Sony Pictures Entertainment film,
scheduled for release in November next
year, previously had only a working title as
Along with Craig, Mendes presented
returning cast members Ralph Fiennes,
who plays M after a long turn in the role
by Judi Dench, alongside Naomie Harris,
Ben Whishaw and Rory Kinnear.
Mendes said shooting would begin next
week at Pinewood and that other locations
would include London, Rome, Mexico
City, Tangier and the Austrian alps.
Mendes directed the previous Bond
film Skyfall, which was the most lucrative
in the series to date, taking in $US1.1b
worldwide. — Reuters
‘Bigger and better’ — Bond is back
Daniel Craig has been confirmed to play James Bond for the fourth time in the upcoming film Spectre.
Crowe behind camera
Russell Crowe on set during filming of The Water Diviner in Turkey.
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