At 39, Russel Crowe is a three-time Academy Award nominee. He is not yet the biggest box-office draw on the planet, but he has jumped Cruise and Tom Hanks in many directors’ casting wish lists. “He gets offered everything—or everything good—first,” says an agent. (Crowe turned down the Hugh Grant part in About a Boy, the Laurence Fishburne part in The Matrix and Viggo Mortensen’s role in The Lord of the Rings, among others.) But where Hanks and Cruise insinuated their way into moviegoers’ hearts by exuding amiability on-and offscreen, Crowe has pulled off a far more unlikely trick: he is one of the world’s biggest stars and is frequently perceived as one of the world’s biggest jerks. [More]