HE’S known for his quick temper and has had more than one run-in with journalists during his career.
But Russell Crowe says Ryan Gosling knows the secret of how to get him to lighten up.
The Hollywood heart-throbs are paired together in new comedy The Nice Guys, playing a private detective partnership in 1970s Los Angeles.
And Crowe is effusive in praise of his co-star’s abilities as an actor — and his uncanny knack of getting him to corpse on camera.
“If you take my 26 years of working in feature films prior to The Nice Guys, the amount of times I will have corpsed on camera in that whole time would be less than any given week making The Nice Guys,” smiles Russell, who was once arrested for throwing a phone at the concierge of New York’s Mercer Hotel.
“Ryan has a way of making me laugh and sometimes I would suspect he was up all night thinking of a way to make me laugh.
“He has a natural comedic gift, so, yeah, I laughed my head off all the time.
“I remember one scene, we had blocked off Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, a very simple shot, we have to come in, deliver a couple of lines of dialogue then drive away.
“And Ryan is just not on the script, he is just jamming on some idea that is in his head about German blue movies and I am falling apart in the car trying to get my lines out as he goes into the pseudo German he does with such conviction.
“So he is doing all that and you have Joel Silver, the producer, standing on Sunset saying: ‘I have the whole street blocked off to shoot my movie, not tonight, guys, not tonight.’
“We are sitting in the car and I say to Ryan: ‘So we going to stick to the script?’ and Ryan says: ‘No.’”
The film centres on the seemingly-unconnected mysteries of a missing girl, the death of a porn star, and a high-level corporate conspiracy.
Joining the dots between them is hapless private detective Holland March (Gosling) and his new client/de facto partner, Jackson Healy (Crowe), a hired enforcer who introduces himself by breaking March’s arm, while simultaneously providing the diagnosis.
What’s more, everyone who gets involved in the case somehow winds up dead.
“You’ve got one character who’s on a moral slippery slope and then you have the other guy who wants to be useful, but, currently, thinks he can only be useful by breaking people’s arms,” attests Crowe.
“So, in a way, it’s that classic thing where these two guys together make one whole man.
“But it’s also completely unconventional and that appealed to my sense of humour.”
The film also put a smile on Russell’s face for reuniting him with Kim Basinger, whom he last worked with on LA Confidential — his breakthrough movie in America — 20 years ago.
“It was great seeing Kim again,” says the 52-year-old star. “We built a very intimate friendship on LA Confidential and that still remains.
“In this business, you may not see each other for years, but if you connected, you still feel it next time you meet.”