When I sit down with an actor, my plan is to discuss their current project in the short time I have. But sometimes the conversation takes a weird direction and we spend a few moments on a different topic.
Russell Crowe went way off topic the moment he walked into the Beverly Hilton Hotel room for what was supposed to be a discussion of his new film, “The Nice Guys.” The film, set to open Friday, May 20, has him teaming with Ryan Gosling to play to bungling investigators in 1977. They find themselves waist deep in murder, corruption and the porn industry.
Before I even mention the film, Crowe asks if he can smoke. It’s Russell Crowe. Who’s going to stop him?
He opens a window, takes a seat and lights up the cigarette. Then he launches into a long dissertation about smoking, especially how difficult it is to be a smoker in Los Angeles.
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“It needs to be pointed out that wherever you go in the world, where you are still allowed to smoke in licensed premises, those are the places where bars are happy,” Crowe says. ‘Find me a happy bar in Los Angeles. There are a bunch of happy people on the street or standing outside.”
Crowe has a theory: people drink less when they are at a bar where they can’t smoke because they have to keep going outside.
To the Oscar-winning actor, the solution is making the manufacturers take out the chemicals that cause all of the medical problems – not a smoking ban. As for vapor cigarettes, he’s not ready to pass judgment because there’s not enough evidence.
Another smoking tidbit: In “The Nice Guys,” the character played by Gosling is a chain smoker. Gosling had stopped smoking before doing the film. He couldn’t follow the lead of other actors who opted for herbal cigarettes rather than those with tobacco because the smoke from the herbal cigarettes make him sneeze.
All of that from an interview that looked like it was going to go up in smoke.