A-lister who turned down Walk The Line
Russell Crowe has opened up about the "dream" role he regrets turning down.
In an interview with Nova FM's Fitzy and Wippa, Crowe, 55, revealed that he'd been approached to play Johnny Cash in 2005 biopic Walk The Line, alongside actress Reese Witherspoon as June Carter.
"It was one of those funny things with an internal morality, it was like, 'This is a dream job for me'," he said.
"I'd been playing, singing Johnny Cash songs since I was a little boy. But I felt that I would be then getting stuff that I hadn't earned, that I'd be climbing on Johnny Cash's back to get Grammy nominations or something, it just felt wrong to me."
Joaquin Phoenix eventually landed the role, later scoring him Best Actor nominations at both the Oscars and Golden Globes.
"I know from personal experience that he's one of the greatest actors out there, so the fact he did an incredible job is absolutely no surprise to me," Crowe said of Phoenix.
"But from the very first notes … when the soundtrack starts, the knife jab into my heart starts … oh god, not only did I want to do the movie, but this was the exact version of the movie I wanted to do."
Walk The Line was critically acclaimed and made $266 million at the box office globally, making it the highest-grossing music biopic of all time until 2015's Straight Outta Compton.
"I didn't think (director) Peter Jackson actually wanted me on the film," he told radio host Howard Stern. "'I think he was forced into talking to me (by the studio) because there was a moment in time where everybody wanted me in every (movie)."
Crowe said he spoke to Jackson on the phone about the role and could "hear in his voice" Jackson wasn't keen on him.
"My instinct was that he had somebody else in mind, which turned out to be Viggo (Mortensen)," Crowe said. "He should be allowed to hire the actor that he wants."